B CO'lfOiTE ^T OF
CONQUEST OF CALIFORNIA
BY THE FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES,
IN THE YEARS 1846 & 1847.
JAMES MADISON CUTTS.
WITH ENGRAVINGS, PLANS OF BATTLE, ETC.
PUBLISHED BY CAREY & HART.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1847, by
CAREY AND HART,
in the Clerk'i Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of PenniylTania,
nUOTTPKD BT L. JOHNSON XJID CO.
BT T. I. A.1D P. O. COLLINS.
THE AUTHOR'S PURPOSE.
WHETHER by emigration or by war- by conquest or by
purchase New Mexico, and the Calif ornias, one or all, are to
become territories of the United States of North America, is
no part of this work to discuss. Their geographical position
and the course of events may tend to this result. It is, how
ever, left to others to canvass the possibilities or probabilities,
along with the policy of such consummation.
A general outline of the geography of these countries,
together with a concise and continuous narrative of recent
military and naval operations connected with the Conquest
of California and New Mexico, embodying marches and
exploits " among the most wonderful of the age,"* is appa
rently demanded by their romantic and " almost fabulous"
interest, as well as by the universal attention bestowed upon
the Mexican war, and its consequences.
The purpose is here to sketch the geographical and histo-
* Senator Benton.
rical outlines with entire impartiality, and with such fidelity
as the records now admit of; so that the Public may have
before them an unpretending, yet useful compendium. At
least, such is the Author's only design, and this he hopes to
accomplish satisfactorily, the more that he makes no literary
pretensions, and that it must be obvious to all, that the mate
rials of history are not sufficiently developed for the more
studied and philosophical research, which may hereafter oc
cupy the minds of some of those historians of whose fame
America is so justly proud.
Historical Summary of Mexico National Boundary Departments and
Population Yucatan and Texas Mountains and Table-land of Mexico
Salubrity Rivers Lakes Volcanoes Harbours Mixed Races
Slavery Commerce Manufactures Mines Military Force Revenue
Debt - * * > >* - - - - . . .9
Geographical Outline of California and New Mexico - - - - 16
Principal Military and Naval events of the Mexican War, antecedent to
and cotemporaneous with the operations of the forces in California and
New Mexico * 29
Army of the West" Purpose of the greatest importance Gen. Kearny
Orders and instructions for New Mexico and Upper California Civil
governments Forces organized at Fort Leavenworth Capture of Santa
Fe Proclamations, &c. Legislative and Executive Action thereon
Expedition Fort Treaties with Indians, &c. Orders to Col. Doniphan,
&c. Marches for Upper California 32
Combination of forces employed in the Conquest of California and New
Mexico, Military and Naval Reinforcement of a Regiment and of a Bat
talion of Mounted Volunteers, under Col. Price, to Army of the West"
Mormon Battalion Nauvoo difficulties and emigrants New York
Regiment under Col. J. D. Stevenson Capt. C. Q. Tompkins's Com
pany of Third Artillery Orders and instructions Co-operation with the
Naval forces Col. Mason Departures and Arrivals Unexpected Co
Colonel Doniphan Missouri Volunteers Command at Santa F6 Orders
Campaign in the Navaho country March on Chihuahua Route Battle
of Brazito El Paso Major Clark's artillery Capt. Weightman Battle
of Sacramento Occupation of the City of Chihuahua American Traders
A Lady Orders from Gen. Wool Capt Reid's gallant action with
Indians Capital of Durango Route to Saltillo Gen. Wool Gen.
Taylor and Trophies Arrival at New Orleans Arrival at St Louis
Enthusiastic Reception Senator Benton's Speech Col. Doniphan's
reply and adieu to his companions in arms - - 75
Pacific Squadron Com. Sloat Any Emergency Distance and Difficulty
of Communication Orders and Instructions Operations commenced
Bay of Monterey occupied Proclamation Bay of San Francisco Capt.
.Fremont Enrolment of Militia British Man of War Company of
Dragoons Com. Sloat returns to the United States Com. Stockton
Operations and Despatches Proclamation Tariff and Civil Government
Newspaper established Com. Stockton and Fremont Despatch Fre
mont Governor Insurrection Los Angeles Santa Barbara Battle
Military and Naval Operations Settlements and Towns Com. Stock
ton's Despatches Gen. Kearny and Battles of Los Angeles Fremont
and Capitulation Com. Stockton Gen. Kearny and Col. Fremont meet
at Los Angeles and separate Com. Shubrick arrives Capt. Tompkins's
Artillery, and Col. Stevenson's Regiment Com. Shubrick, Gen. Kearny
and Joint-Circular Col. Mason, of First Dragoons, Governor and Com
mander-in-chief of the Land Forces Gen. Kearny, Cora. Stockton, and
Col. Fremont returns American flag waves over California - - - 103
Unexpected and gallant movement J. Charles Fremont Scientific ex
ploration Gen. Castro threatens American flag hoisted United States
Consul, T. O. Larkin, Esq. Correspondence Fremont's note With
draws The country raised Attacked by Tlamath Indians Determi
nation Capture of Castro's horses Sonoma surprised and taken Pri
soners Fights de la Torre Men cut to pieces alive Mexicans shot
Declaration of Independence and War Com. Sloat Pursues Castro
Ordered to Monterey Com. Stockton in command Major of California
Mounted Riflemen Embarks for San Diego Joins Com. Stockton's
forces Occupation of " City of the Angels" Again pursues Castro
Capt. Gillespie Com. Stockton appoints Fremont Governor Lieut. Tal-
bot Com. Stockton officially announces the capture of California Cali-
fornians revolt Los Angeles and Santa Barbara evacuated Fremont
March on Los Angeles Captures and pardons Don J. Pico Capitu
lation Previous Battles of Gen. Kearny and Com. Stockton Com.
Stockton's Despatches Meeting of Fremont, Stockton, and Kearny
Separate Fremont Governor and Commander-in-chief His Circular
Kit Carson Interviews with Com. Shubrick and Gen. Kearny Adheres
to his position Fremont returns to the United States. ... 142
Gen. Kearny Upper California Orders and Instructions Departure from
Santa F Captain Johnston's Journal of the March Meets Kit Carson-
March renewed Incidents of the Journey Visit to Copper- mines-
Apaches Aztec Ruins Casa de Montezuma Pimos and Cocomaricopas
Indians Provisions fail Capture of Castro's Horses, and of the Mail
Junction of the Gila and Colorado Desert Approach California Signs
of the Enemy Letter to Com. Stockton Capt. Gillespie The Enemy
Battle of San Pasqual Death of Captains Johnston and Moore, and
Lieut. Hammond Gen. Kearny, Lieut. Warner, Captains Gillespie and
Gibson, wounded Com. Stockton Sailors and Marines The Enemy
Battles of 8th and 9th January Killed and Wounded Occupation of
City of the Angels Col. Fremont joins Gen. Kearny Joint Circular
with Com. Shubrick Lieut. Col. Cooke and Mormon Battalion Pro
clamation of Lieut. Emory and Despatches Capt. Tompkins's Artillery
Company Col. Stevenson's Regiment Settlements and Towns, &c.
Decree of Gen. Kearny Government established Orders to take pos
session of Lower California Gen. Kearny returns to United States
Route homewards Dead Emigrants Arrival Reception - - - 178
Col. Sterling Price Lieut. Col. Willock Missouri mounted Volunteers
Gen. Kearny Col. Doniphan Col. Price remains at Santa Fe
Conspiracy Gov. Bent's Proclamation Organization of Government
Sickness of Troops Enterprise and Amusements Revolution Murder
of Gov. Bent and others Americans to be put to death Letters inter
cepted Enemy approaching Santa Fe Troops called together Advance
on the Enemy Battles of Canada and Embudo Battle of the Pueblo
de Taoe Death of Capt Burgwin Funerals and Graves of Bent and
Burgwin People urged to rise Massacres Fight at Moro Capt.
Henley killed Capt Morin destroys the Town The Father-in-law of
Archuleta Leaders delivered up Tried and Executed State of Affairs
in New Mexico Revolutionary Spirit Route between Santa F6 and
Fort Leavenworth dangerous Lieut. Peck Incidents of the Desert
Indians very Hostile Engagement with Apaches Lieut. Brown killed
Surprise and Capture of Los Pias Loquesta, &c. Prisoners Exe
cutionsExpiration of Terms of Service of Volunteers Lieut. Love's
Battle with the Indians Indian Aggression Measures taken to Repress
and Punish No organized resistance in New Mexico Arrival of new
Levies Col. Price created a Brigadier-general Visits Missouri to return
to Santa F6 i" . - - -214
CALIFOENIA AND NEW MEXICO.
Historical Summary of Mexico National Boundary Departments and Popula
tion Yucatan and Texas Mountains and Table-land of Mexico Salubrity
Rivers Lakes Volcanoes Harbours Mixed Races Slavery Commerce
Manufactures Mines Military Force Revenue Debt.
MEXICO, once the powerful and populous empire of Montezuma,
chief of the native Aztec race ; afterwards, by the conquest of
Cortez, in 1521, one of the brightest gems in the Spanish crown,
asserted, in 1810, her independence, and at the end of a prolonged
and bloody struggle, in which some 500,000 perished, adopted, in
1824, a constitution of government formed nearly on the model
of the United States, with two essential exceptions. One which
established the Catholic Roman Apostolic Religion, and declared
that the nation will protect it by wise and just laws, and prohi
bited the exercise of any other. The second, whereby their Con
gress was authorized, in times of national danger, to create a
dictator, for a limited time ; or, in other words, " to grant extraor
dinary powers to the executive, for a limited time, upon a full
knowledge of the cause."
Amid civil dissensions, this constitution preserved a nominal
existence until 1835, when the general .Congress suppressed the
state legislatures, and provided for the division of the country into
departments ; the president to be chosen by an indirect vote, and
the two houses of Congress by direct popular vote ; the executive
head of each department to be appointed by the supreme national
10 HISTORICAL SUMMARY.
Successive revolutions, headed by military chiefs who more or
less exercised unlimited power, or claimed to restore the constitu
tion of 1824, followed, until, the republican party once more in
apparent ascendency, the re-establishment of the constitution of
1824 was, on the 22d August, 1846, decreed, and with it the dis
solution of the departmental assemblies and the reorganization
of the several departments into sovereign and independent states.
On the 20th of April, 1847, the Mexican Congress conferred on
the executive then General Santa Anna "extraordinary powers"
restricted by the following provisoes : that it shall not have power
to make peace ; to conclude a negotiation with foreign powers ;
to alienate the territory of the republic; to enter" into coloniza
tion contracts ; to impose penalties ; -or lastly, to confer other
civil and military employments than those expressly sanctioned by
the constitution of 1824.
On the 6th of June, 1847, a coalition of the states of Jalisco,
San Louis Potosi, Zacatecas, Mexico, Queretara and Aguasca-
Jientes was formed at Largos, which, looking to the fall of the
capital, was prepared to maintain their independence and the fede
ral system through all the vicissitudes of war and to the resist
ance to peace.
Lord Palmerston had, May 31, 1847, assured the minister of
the Mexican republic, Don Joaquin Mora, "In regard to the con
templated abandonment of the Mexican capital by the executive,
to which Senor Mora refers in his letter, the undersigned (Pal-
merston) has the honour of assuring Senor Mora, that the English
minister accredited to the Mexican government, will consider it
his duty to follow the government, and maintain his relations with
it, in whatever part of the Mexican territory said government may
fix its residence." From whatever causes, whether from corrup
tions and abuses of power introduced into the administration ;
from the mixture of races ; want of education and enlightenment
among the masses, it has happened that Mexico, since her eman
cipation from Spain, has exhibited the spectacle of a republic con
vulsed by the disputes of political parties and of rival chiefs,
ending at times in sanguinary struggles and civil warfare ; in fact,
DEPARTMENTS AND POPULATION. 11
" peace seems not to be the element in which Mexican statesmen
gain or maintain their personal ascendency."
The Mexican nation or republic is now bounded on the north
by the Oregon Territory of the United States ; on the south by
Yucatan and Guatamala : on the east by the United States, and
the Gulf of Mexico; .and on the west and south-west by the
Pacific ocean. This territory extends from latitude 15 to latitude
42 north, or about 1800 miles from north to south.
Geographical and political details of the original divisions, and
of the subsequent territorial subdivisions, cannot find space in this
work ; sufficient to state that, on 10th November, 1843, a decree
for the election of delegates to the new Congress to convene in the
city of Mexico on 1st June, 1844, fixed the ratio of representa
tion as one delegate for 70,000 souls, agreeably to the census pre
pared by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics, and
named the departments as follows :
Mexico, . . . . . . 1,389,520
Guanaxuato, . . . . . . 513,606
Oajaca, . ~ ^ V Y : * . . 500,278
Michoacan, . . . , . . 497,906
San Louis Potosi, ..... 321,840
Zacatecas, . //, .... 273,575
Vera Cruz, 254,380
Durango, 162,618 *
- Chihuahua, 147,600
Chiapas, ....... 141,206
Sonora, . . . ... 124,000
Neuvo Leon, 101,108
12 MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS.
Neuvo Mexico, 67,026
Texas, . 27,800
Yucatan has since dissolved the connection. Texas had de
clared and conquered her independence at the time, and claims,
as embraced within her boundaries, the parts lying east of the
Rio Grande, of four of the departments enumerated above ;
namely, of New Mexico, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas.
The vast ridge which runs through Mexico connects the Andes
of the south and the Rocky Mountains of the north. In the
centre of Mexico, this chain presents a broad table-land from 6000
to 8000 feet in height, diversified by detached mountains, rising
into the regions of perpetual snow, while it falls off rapidly as it
spreads towards the eastern and western sea-coasts. Hence, on
an almost continuous level, wheel carriages may run from the
capital to Santa Fe, in New Mexico, while laterally the commu
nication is extremely difficult, and, in most cases, can be carried
on only by mules.
The summit of this vast table-plain is devoid of vegetation from
the absence of moisture ; its first slopes afford a vegetation of un
common strength and beauty, while the narrow plain along the
sea-coast produces the richest tropical productions, with a luxuri
ance scarcely to be paralleled.
On the other hand, health and salubrity of air retrograde with
as decided steps as fertility advances towards the coasts.
Of the rivers of Mexico, not numerous or of great magnitude,
the Rio Grande del Norte is the principal, running a south-east
erly course, about 1600 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The Sa
cramento and San Joachim are large rivers of Upper California.
The Colorado of the West is also a large river, and falls into the
Gulf of California, after receiving the Gila. From the structure
of the country, the rivers of tropical Mexico mostly become mere
MIXED RACES. 13
torrents. The Parmco, the San Fernando, and the Santander, are
considerable streams on the eastern coast ; and the Zacatula, Rio
Grande, (or Tololotlan,) and Hiaqui on the western. The lakes
of Mexico are very numerous, and appear to be the remains
of others of vast extent. There are five active volcanic moun
tains, Tuxtla, Orizava, Popocatepetl, Jarullo, and Colima, con
nected by a chain of intermediate ones, evidently of similar
The principal port on the Gulf of Mexico is the insecure har
bour of Vera Cruz ; Tampico is much frequented, north-east of
which are several natural harbours less used, while south are
Alvarado and Huascualco. On the Pacific, are the bays of San
Francisco, Monterey, Tehuantepec, Acapulco, and San Bias.
The want of good harbours must prevent Mexico proper from
ever becoming a great maritime power. In the Gulf of Califor
nia there are tolerable harbours, but few considerable settle
The population of Mexico is variously rated, almost universally
larger than the estimate given by the Mexican National Institute
Its mixed character is singularly different from that of other
countries. The following statement concisely enumerates the
1. Europeans, or persons of pure Spanish blood, not natives of
Mexico, powerless in a political point of view, but wealthy, though
of small number.
2. Crillos or Creoles ; persons of unadulterated white blood.
During the revolution, these and the first class were known as
Gauchupinos, and, generally opposing the revolution, were called
Realists or Royalists.
3. Meztizos, or half-bloods, the descendants of the white and
aboriginal races ; this class comprises a great portion of the popu
lation of Mexico.
4. The native unmixed Indians, now rapidly being amalga
mated with the others, yet still powerful in a numerical point of
5. Mulattoes, as with us, the descendants of whites and
6. Africans, and persons of unmixed African blood.
7. Zambos, the Descendants of Indian and African parents.
Besides, there are numerous descendants of emigrants from the
Canary Islands, with a great admixture of Moorish, not African
blood. Gitanos or Gipseys, and, it is said, on the Pacific coast,
near Acapulco, a large proportion of the population have a mix
ture of Malay and Chinese blood.
Slavery was abolished on the 13th of July, 1824, and from that
date, every imported slave was declared to be a free man from the
moment he landed upon the Mexican coast. They have, however,
a system of quasi servitude, called peonage.
The commerce of Mexico does not correspond with its capa
bilities of production. On the " temperate lands," the finest plants
of the most genial temperate climates are produced in higher per
fection than in most other parts of the world ; while the different
elevations of its great tabular mass of territory afford scope for
such vast variety of productions as to render Mexico celebrated as
an agricultural country.
Manufactures spread slowly among them, yet they are now
being established ; principally in Puebla.
The mines, however, have given the idea of unbounded wealth
and romantic splendour to the name of Mexico, whence, indeed,
since the first discovery, more silver has been produced than from
all the rest of the world. The amount coined at .the mint of
Mexico, since the conquest, amounts to 443,000,000 dollars. The
number of mines already known is between three and four thou
sand. Their largest yield in any one year was, in 1796,
25,644,566 dollars, and for some years previous to 1810, the
average annual yield was 24,000,000. During the revolution,
the amount was greatly reduced, water having been, in many
instances, allowed to rush in, the machinery destroyed, and the
workmen dispersed. In 1825, numerous British capitalists un
dertook to restore and extend the produce of the mines. German
companies were also formed, as also were two American ; the
DEBT OF MEXICO. 15
expenses in the outset were enormous, and the results discourag
ing; their subsequent special operations are not known, further
than that Europeans have now an interest in the mines of Mexico,
of some twenty millions of dollars. This would appear to be a
glittering prospect, but, classed with other industrial pursuits, the
yield, compared to the capital and labour, may not be found to be
greater than an equal amount invested in agriculture, commerce
The unsettled state of the country gives little value to its sta
tistical statements. Nothing certain can be told of its military
force, nor of its annual revenue, which has been stated as about
16,000,000 dollars. The national debt is equally unascertainable
computed, however, by those most competent to determine, at
about 100,000,000 dollars, subject to the addition which the pre
sent war entails. On the 13th of September, 1847, the consolida
tion and acknowledgment of the Mexican debt to English bond
holders was formally announced in London, by authority of the
Mexican legation at that court, as having been consummated in
Mexico, to the amount of ^10,241,650; represented at the Mexi
can par, as about forty-six millions of dollars. ..What other foreign
obligations may exist cannot be ascertained with any accuracy.
16 GEOGRAPHICL OUTLINE.
Geographical Outline of California and New Mexico.
THE conquest of California and New Mexico embodied a class
of men whose intelligence, enterprise, and capacity, might well
be confided in to develop the character of the country, or to dis
cover its utmost resources. Their marches and counter-marches,
in a great measure, afforded occasion, if not facilities. But it was
not alone that our forces embraced the profession of arms, the
citizen soldier, and the anticipated emigrant, but that the govern
ment had also provided men of science, from whose reports more
might be accurately known of California and New Mexico. Time
has not sufficiently elapsed to hear fully from these conjoined
sources of intelligent and extensive exploration much that must
hereafter serve to the attainment of a certain fixed knowledge of
the geography, soil, climate, &c. of these countries.
At present the accounts received vary materially. It is neces
sary, however, for the purposes of this narrative, that some gene
ral outline of the geography of the scenes of many a gallant con
test here sketched, should be given, and in this the author deems
old authorities, as Humboldt, and more modern, "The United
States Exploring Expedition," Greenhow, &c., as, on the whole,
altogether preferable to the newspaper paragraphs which so sel
dom agree one with another. Whatever exception may be made
in the compilation of the geographical outline of California and
New Mexico will be accompanied with names.
"Upper California extends, upon the Pacific, from the 32d
parallel of latitude, about seven hundred miles north-westward to
Oregon, from which it is divided, nearly in the course of the 42d
parallel that is in the latitude of Boston by a chain of highlands
called the Snowy Mountains ; the Sierra Nevada of the Spaniards.
Its boundaries on the west are not, as yet, politically determined
GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE. 17
by the Mexican government ; nor do geographers agree with re
gard to natural limits in that direction. By some, it is considered
as embracing only the territory between, the Pacific and the sum
mit of the mountains which border the western side of the conti
nent : others extend its limits to the Colorado ; while others include
in it, and others again exclude from it, the entire regions drained
by that river. The only portion occupied by Mexicans, or of
which any distinct accounts have been obtained, is that between
the great chain of mountains and the ocean ; the country east of
that ridge to the Colorado appears to be an uninhabitable desert.
" Northward from the Peninsula, or Lower California, the great
westermost chain of mountains continues nearly parallel with the
Pacific coast, to the 34th degree of latitude, under which rises
Mount San Bernardin, one of the highest peaks in California,
about forty miles from the ocean. Further north the coast turns
more to the west, and the space between it and the summit line
of the mountains becomes wider, so as to exceed eighty miles in
some places ; the intermediate region being traversed by lines of
hills, or smaller mountains, connected with the main range. The
principal of these inferior ridges extends from Mount San Ber
nardin north-westward to its termination on the south side of the
entrance of the great Bay of San Francisco, near the 38th degree
of latitude, where it is called the San Bruno Mountains. Between
this range and the coast run the Santa Barbara Mountains, termi
nating on the north at the Cape of Pines, on the south-west side
of the Bay of Monterey, near the latitude 36 degrees. North of
the San Bruno Mountains is the Bolbones ridge, bordering the
Bay of San Francisco on the east ; and still farther in the same
direction are other and much higher lines of highlands, stretch
ing from the great chain, and terminating in capes on the Pa
" The southern part of Upper California, between the Pacific and
the great westermost chain of mountains, is very hot and dry, ex
cept during a short time in winter. Further north the wet season
increases in length, and about the Bay of San Francisco the rains
are almost constant from November to April, the earth being moist-
18 GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE.
cned during the remainder of the year by heavy dews and fogs.
Snow and ice are sometimes seen in the winter on the shores of
this bay, but never further south, except on the mountain-tops.
The whole of California is, however, subject to long droughts."*
Heavy rains are of rare occurrence, and two years without any is
not unusual ; notwithstanding which, vegetation does not suffer to
the extent that might be inferred, because, in the first place, many
small streams descend from the mountain ranges, supplying the
means of both natural and artificial irrigation ; and, next, that the
country near the coast is favoured with a diurnal land and sea
breeze ; and, from the comparatively low temperature of the sea,
the latter is always in summer accompanied with fogs, in the latter
part of the night, and which are dissipated by the morning's sun,
but serve to moisten the pastures and nourish a somewhat peculiar
vegetation abounding in beautiful flowers.
"Among the valleys of Upper California are many streams,
some of which discharge large quantities of water in the rainy
season ; but no river is known to flow through the maritime ridge
of mountains from the interior to the Pacific, except perhaps the
Sacramento, falling into the Bay of San Francisco, though several
are thus represented on the maps. The valleys thus watered
afford abundant pasturage for cattle, with which they are covered;
California, however, contains but two tracts of country capable of
supporting large numbers of inhabitants, which are that west of
Mount San Bernardin, about the 34th degree of latitude, and that
surrounding the Bay of San Francisco, and the lower part of the
Sacramento ; and even in these, irrigation would be indispensable
to insure success in agriculture."
In reply to inquiries of the author of these sketches, as to the
area of Upper California, William Darby, the well-known Ameri
can geographer, writes: "The provincial terms of New Mexico,
and of Upper and Lower California, have been, and are yet, rather
designations of indefinite tracts than of real defined political sec
tions. The Pacific ocean limits on the west, and by treaty,
N. lat. 42 on the north ; but inland and southward, it is in vain
GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE. 19
to seek any definite boundary. In order, however, to give as dis
tinct a view as the nature of the case will admit, let us adopt the
mouth of the Colorado and Gila, or the head of the Gulf of Cali
fornia, as a point on the southern boundary of Upper California.
The point assumed coincides very nearly with N. lat. 32, and, if
adopted, would give to that country a breadth of ten degrees of
latitude, or in round numbers 800 statute miles from south to
north. As already stated, the Pacific Ocean bounds this country
on the west, and lat. 42 on the north. To separate it on the east
from New Mexico, we must assume the mountain chain of the
Sierra Madre, or Anahuac, which, in this region, inclines but little
from north and south : whilst the Pacific coast extends in general
course north-west and south-east. These opposite outlines contract
the southern side to about 500 miles, and open the northern side
to rather above 800 miles ; giving a mean breadth of 650 miles.
The area, for all general purposes, may be safely taken at
500,000 square miles. The general slope or declination of this
great region is westward, towards the Pacific and Gulf of Cali
Mr. Darby adds : " The climate of the western slope of North
America has a warmth ten degrees at least higher than the eastern,
upon similar latitude. The cause of this difference is the course
of prevailing winds in the temperate zones of the earth, from the
western points. Thus the winds on the western side of the conti
nent are from the ocean, and on the eastern from the land. I have
in the present case given ten degrees of difference, in order to be
within bounds ; but am confident that above N. lat. 32, and within
two or three hundred miles from the ocean, the climatic difference
in winter, on equal elevations of surface, is far nearer twenty than
/en." The author's investigations would lead him to the convic
tion that the climatic difference is considerably above ten degrees,
and that Mr. Darby may be correct as to the higher point. It is,
however, a subject yet undetermined, and one which the author
is aware now engages the philosophical investigation of one of
the ablest and most deservedly honored sages of America, Albert
Gallatin, from whose conclusions the public will need no appeal.
20 GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE.
The visit of Captain Wilkes, of the United States Exploring
Expedition, was made in 1841. He refers to very great difficulty
in obtaining accurate information in relation to Upper California ;
the country, at the time of his visit, and for several years previous,
having been in a state of revolution. He found it suffering under
a drought of eleven months' continuance, and hence his first view
was unfavourable as to its beauty or fertility, nor did subsequent
experience materially alter this impression, except as to the regions
to which allusion has been already made.
" The soil is as variable as the face of the country. On the coast
range of hills there is little to invite the agriculturist, except in some
vales of no great extent. These hills are, however, admirably adapted
for raising herds and flocks, and are at present the feeding-grounds
of numerous deer, elk, &c., to which the short, sweet grass and
wild oats that are spread over them afford a plentiful supply of
food." Captain Wilkes concludes : " The valley of the Sacra
mento, and that of San Juan are the most fruitful parts of California,
particularly the latter, which is capable of producing wheat, Indian
corn, rye, oats, &c., with all the fruits of the temperate, and many
of the tropical climates. It likewise offers pasture grounds for
cattle. This region comprises a level plain, from fifteen to twenty
miles in width, extending from the bay of San Francisco, beyond
the mission of that name, north and south. This may be termed
the garden of California ; but although several small streams and
lakes serve to water it, yet in dry seasons or droughts, not only the
crops but the Tierbage also suffers extremely, and the cattle are
deprived of food." The most extensive portion of Upper Cali
fornia the inland plain between the " California" and the Colorado
range of mountains is an arid waste, destitute of the requisites
for supplying the wants of man. " This plain is a waste of sand,
with a few detached mountains (some of which rise to the region
of perpetual snow) whose positions are unknown ; from these
flow small streams that are soon lost in the sand. A few Indians
are scattered over the plain, the most miserable objects in crea
The climate varies as much or more than its natural features
GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE. 21
and soil. On the coast range, it has as high a mean temperature
in winter as in summer. In fact, the latter is the coldest part of
the year owing to the prevalence of cold, .damp and uncomfortable
north-west winds, rendering fire often necessary for comfort in mid
summer. Thirty miles, however, from the coast, the climate
undergoes a great change, and according to Captain Wilkes, " in
no part of the world is there to be found a finer or a more equable
one than in the valley of San Juan," and none can be more
The Sacramento is the largest river in California. The San
Joachim is next in importance. "There are many small streams
that flow through the different valleys, and afford partial opportu
nities for irrigating the land ; but there are none of them navigable
except the Sacramento."
Upper California has one of the finest harbours in the world,
in which the combined fleets of all the naval powers of Europe
might ride in safety. " This, however, is the only real good har
bour which the country possesses ; for the others so called may
be frequented only during the fine season, being nothing more
than roadsteads, affording little safety and but few supplies to
" Among these bays are that of Monterey, the capital of Upper
California, and that of Santa Barbara and San Pedro. The two
last are partly protected from the swell of the Pacific ocean by the
islands that cover them."*
The yield of wheat, small grain and vegetables, is said to be
great, and very remarkable, but, as agriculture cannot succeed in
Upper California, but by irrigation, it has hitherto happened that
it has been principally occupied as a pastoral country as costing
least labour to rear cattle, for which it is only necessary to pro
vide keepers, and have them marked. The numerous animals
which are there slaughtered for little more than their hides and
tallow, do not putrefy and become offensive as they would in other
climates, but, as wood is not everywhere as abundant as their
* Captain Wilkes.
23 GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE.
bones, the last are sometimes used to supply the place of the
former, in the construction of garden fences, &c.
The principal towns are enumerated by M. de Mofras, together
with their population. His account of the soil, exports, &c., is
interesting, and accurate, doubtless, of the time to which it refers.
Since then, however, the population has been increased by emi
gration. M. de Mofras gives a very minute account of the state
of affairs in California, in 1842. His work was published under
the immediate direction of the French minister, Marshal Soult, by
order of the king of France.
The area of Upper California he gives at 500,000 square miles,
and the population exclusive of Indians scattered over this extent
he classifies as follows :
Californians descended from Spain, . !v ,- . 4000
Americans from United States, . " - * . 360
English, Scotch, and Irish, . * *\ . . , 300
European Spaniards, . . . i , > * . 80
French and Canadians, . . . J * v "80
Germans, Italians, Portuguese and Sandwich islanders, 90
Mexicans, . . i , ; '- > 90
Total, . . 5000
Among the English and Americans, he states, are many run
away seamen, but most of them are immigrants from the west.
The location of this population is given as follows :
San Diego, .... . 1300
Santa Barbara, 800
San Francisco, 800
Total, . . 5000
The three most important establishments in the country, are the
factories of the Hudson Bay company, and the most important of
all, New Helvetia, founded by Captain Sutler, a retired officer of
the Swiss Guards of Charles X., disbanded at the revolution of the
three days of 1830. This enterprising gentleman emigrated from
GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE. 23
Missouri to California, in 1838, 1839, and has formed the nucleus
of the future empire on the Pacific. Captain Fremont, on his
visit to Captain Sutter, 1844, states that on his first settlement he
had some trpuble with the Indians, but by the occasional exercise
of well-timed authority, converted them into a peaceable and in
dustrious people. On application to the chief of a village, he
obtained as many boys and girls as he can employ; and there was
at that time a number in training for a woollen factory. He
bought out the stock of a Russian establishment, the owners of
which wished to leave the country, consisting of a large number
of cattle, artillery, &c., and makes payment for them annually in
grain. His fort mounts twelve cannon, and can hold 1000 men,
but is garrisoned with forty Indians, in uniform. The imports and
exports of California, M. de Mofras gives as follows :
Mexican flag, 50,000 . 65,000
United States flag, 70,000 150,000
English flag, 20,000 45,000
Miscellaneous flag, 10,000 20,000
Total, 150,000 280,000
The articles exported are, hides $210,000; tallow $55,000;
peltries, wood, &c. $15,000; total $280,000. The business done
under the Mexican flag is not in Mexican vessels, but in those
belonging to citizens of other countries, doing business in Mexico.
In 1841, of eleven vessels that reached California under the
Mexican flag, only one, a boat of eighty-six tons, in the service
of the government, was Mexican. In relation to the soil of Cali
fornia, he remarks as follows :
" The soil is often in the valleys, two metres deep : the superior
strata are formed in part of organic detritus, and are, of course,
extremely fertile. The soil is never naked, grass covers it through
the whole year. The gramineous plants attain the height of
eight or ten feet. But the trees of California, if not the largest,
are at any rate the tallest, on the globe.
" The seasons follow the same course as in (southern) Europe,
and the year is divided into two well-marked parts, the season of
24 GEOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE.
rains, which begins in October and ends in March, and the dry
season, which embraces the remaining six months of spring and
summer. * * *
" Once only since the colonization of the country, has snow
been known to fall in the plains.
" To resume, Upper California is, on the whole, admirably fitted
for colonization. This province presents the greatest facilities for
raising cattle, for cultivating corn, plants, and for the grape ; it
might contain twenty millions of inhabitants ; and its ports are a
point of necessary communication for vessels" going from China
and Asia to the western coasts of North America.
"It is beyond doubt, that so soon as an intelligent and laborious
population is established there, this country will occupy an ele
vated rank in the commercial scale ; it would form the entrepot
where the coasts of the great ocean would send their products,
and would furnish the greatest part of their subsistence in grains
to the north-west, to Mexico, to Central America, to Ecuador, to
Peru, to the north coast of Asia, and to many groups of Polynesia
such as the Sandwich isles, the Marquesas, and Tahiti."
The number of emigrants that have arrived, as far as heard
from, may be estimated as about three thousand. Others are on
their way, to a much greater amount.
Of the present condition of the country, in addition to what
will be necessarily said in other chapters, as connected with mili
tary events, the following extract from the "California Star,"
edited by the chief of the Mormon emigrants, will, perhaps, suffice
for the purposes of our mere outlines :
" YERBA BUENA AND SAN FRANCISCO BAY. The only journal
upon which the people at a distance can rely, with any degree of
certainty for facts and correct description, is the plain but well-
written work of Col. J. C. Fremont, which we recommend to every
one who feels an interest in learning any thing in relation to the
former history or late condition of the country.
"In consequence of the difficulty which Colonel Fremont laboured
under in getting access to the different parts of the country, he
was unable to give that accurate information relative to this
YERBA BUENA. 25
part, which he could and would have done under other circum
stances. To supply the deficiency in all these works, (some of
which have 'obtained an extensive circulation,) so far as it relates
to this part of California, we have obtained from the most authen
tic sources the description of the town and bay, which follows :
" Yerba Buena, the name of our town, which means, GOOD HERB,
is situated on the south-west side of the principal arm of San
Francisco Bay, about five miles from the ocean, on a narrow neck
of land, varying from four to ten miles in width the narrowest
place being sixteen miles south-west of the town. It is in latitude
37 45' north. This narrow slip of land is about sixty miles in
length, extending from the point formed by the bay and the ocean
to the valley of San Jose. The site of the town is handsome and
commanding, being an inclined plane of about a mile in extent
from the water's edge to the hills in the rear. Two points of
land one on each side, extending into the bay form a crescent,
or a small bay in the shape of a crescent, in front, which bears
the name of the town. These points afford a fine view of the
surrounding country the snow-capped mountains in the dis
tance the green valleys beneath them the beautiful, smooth,
and unruffled bay in front and on either side, at once burst upon
the eye. There is in front of the town a small island, rising high
above the surface of the bay, about two miles long and one wide,
which is covered, the greater part of the year, with the most exu
berant herbage of untrodden freshness. This little island is about
three miles from the shore. Between it and the town is the prin
cipal anchorage. Here the vessels of all nations rest in safety
and peace, and their flags are displayed by the aromatic breeze.
Two hundred yards from the shore, there is twenty-four feet
water, and a short distance beyond that as many fathoms. The
beach, immediately in front of the now business part of the town,
is shelving, but it will, no doubt, in a short time be filled up, and
become the most valuable part of the place.
" The climate here is, in the winter, which is the rainy season,
damp and chilly. During the balance of the year, it is dry, but
chilly in consequence of the continual strong winds from north
26 VALLEY OF SAN JOSE.
and north-west. There is but little variation in the atmosphere
throughout the year; the thermometer ranging from fifty-five to
seventy degrees, Fahrenheit.
" Yerba Buena is one of the most healthy places on the whole
coast of the Pacific. Sickness of any kind is rarely known
among us. The salubrity of the climate beauty of the site* of
the town its contiguity to the mouth of the bay the finest har
bour on the whole coast, in front the rich and beautiful country
around it, all conspire to render it one of the best commercial
points in the world.
"The town is new, having been laid off in 1839, by Captain
John Viogt, and, notwithstanding all the troubles in the country,
has gradually increased in size and importance. It now contains
a population of about 500 permanent citizens. Two years ago
there were but about 200.
" Three miles south is the mission Dolores, on Mission Creek,
surrounded by a small valley of rich and beautiful land. The
water from this creek can easily be brought by means of aque
ducts to any point to supply vessels. For the supply of the citi
zens, the best of well-water is obtained in every part of the town,
by boring the distance of forty feet.
" In going south from Yerba Buena, the traveller passes over
this narrow neck of land ; a most delightful region, interspersed
with hills, valleys, and mountains the valleys rich and beauti
ful the hills covered with tall pines, red wood, and cedar, that
have withstood the tempests and whirlwinds of a century, and the
mountains rising in majestic grandeur to the clouds. In passing
out, the valley of San Jose opens to the view in all the loveliness
of the climate of Italy, and beauty of the tropics. This valley is
about sixty miles in length, and ten in width. The Puebla
(which means an incorporated town) is the principal place of busi
ness for the valley, and is about five miles from Santa Clara, the
landing on the bay, or, as it is termed here, the embarcadero.'
Passing on from here, north-east, the traveller, in a few hours'
ride, reaches the straits which separate the Suisun Bay, formed
by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, from
SOIL OF CALIFORNIA. 27
that of San Pablo. Here it seems that the accumulated waters
of a thousand years had suddenly rent the opposing mountain
asunder, and flowed with tremendous force to the great bosom of
" On the north side of the bay, from the straits to Sausilita, is
one of the finest districts of country in all Upper California.
" Next to Yerba Buena, Sausilita is the best point on the whole
bay for a commercial town. It is seven miles, a little east of north,
from this place, on the opposite side of the bay, and has long been
a watering point for vessels.
" An attempt has recently been made to lay off and build up a
town at the straits, to supersede the two last-mentioned places.
It will, no doubt, however, be an entire failure.
" San Francisco bay being the safest and most commodious har
bour on the entire coast of the Pacific, some point on it must be
the great mart of the Western World. We believe Yerba Buena
is the point, commanding, as it does now, all the trade of the sur
rounding country, and there being already a large amount of capi
tal concentrated here.
" The town of Yerba Buena is called, in some of the old maps
of the country, San Francisco. It is not known by that name
" The town takes its name from an herb to be found all around
it, which is said to make good tea, and possessing excellent me
dicinal qualities ; it is called good herb, or Yerba Buena."
The Honourable Wiliard P. Hall, member of the House of
Representatives of the United States, who, it will be seen in a sub
sequent chapter, brought opportunity and intelligence to the proper
determination of the geographical character of the country, thus
expressed himself: "As to California, I am not prepared to
speak with much certainty. All I can say is, the climate is de
lightful, the situation is excellent, but the soil is not to compare
with ours (of Missouri.) It rains but little, and crops can only be
raised by irrigating the land. California is a good stock country,
the grass is now green, and resembles ours in May. I am told
every thing is parched up in summer. The valleys are small,
and the mountains many and extensive."
On the other hand, publications giving an enthusiastic commen
dation of California have appeared in the newspapers of the day,
but generally without the name of the author, whereby their ex
perience might be tested.
New Mexico, lying eastward of Upper California, and separated
from it by the mountain chain of the Sierra Madre, has, as already
observed, never been accurately defined. It may, for all useful
purposes, be restricted to the narrow valley of the Upper Rio
Grande. The name of "New Mexico" was applied by the early
Spanish conquerors to their possessions along the north-west coast.
Under later Mexican viceroys, "New Mexico" referred to the
intendancy on the Rio Grande. In 1803, Humboldt supposed
this intendancy to contain 44,000 square miles, and 40,000 inhabit
ants. Lieut. Abert, who accompanied Gen. Kearny to Santa Fe,
estimates the population, from official records that fell under his
inspection at Santa Fe, at about 100,000. Humboldt and all others
who have described this country, represent it as generally sterile,
and, for its latitude, excessively cold the coldness compared with
its latitude proving its great elevation above the oceanic level. "It
would be presumption to assign an area, even approximately, to a
country not one outline of which we can fix with any exactness."*
It is true that Humboldt lays down the boundary, but changes have
so altered the acceptation of the geographical term "New Mexico,"
as to produce the conclusion at which Mr. Darby arrives. Of
other particulars of this country, enough will, perhaps, be said in
the course of the military narrative, to render our sketches intelli
gible to the general reader. Those who seek a more detailed
knowledge of California and New Mexico, will doubtless refer to
the very interesting and able works here quoted, as well as to
MILITARY" OPERATIONS IN MEXICO. 29
Principal Military and Naval events of the Mexican War, antecedent to, and
cotemporaneous with the operations of the forces in California and New
A SERIES of military achievements more uninterruptedly suc
cessful than history has record of, already covers the reputation
of Scott and Taylor, and of their Generals, together with that of
their coadjutors, with such renown as will for ever form a part of
the inheritance of American patriotism. It is not within the
scope of this work to enlarge upon their fame, however grateful
the undertaking, but rather to enumerate in this chapter, somewhat
chronologically, their principal battles, &c. ; so that when events,
which so greatly distinguished the skill and energy of commanders
and their conrades in another quarter of the war, come to be here
spoken of, they may readily be compared in point of time with
like heroic deeds of their fellow soldiers further south.
General Taylor took position, at Corpus Christi, on the 15th
August, 1845 ; from thence moved westward, on the llth March,
1846 ; and, on the 28th of same month, reached the east bank of
the Rio Grande, opposite to Matamoras. These movements were
made in pursuance of orders from the War Department, issued
28th May, 1845, and 13th January, 1846.
Mexican battery opened on Fort Brown, May 3d, 1846.
Matamoras occupied by the American forces under Major-
general Taylor, May 18, 1846.
Tampico, in the Gulf of Mexico, taken possession of by Com
modore Perry, November 14, 1846.
Saltillo occupied, by Major-general Taylor, Nov. 16, 1846.
Occupation of Victoria, by Brigadier-general duitman, Dec.
29, 1846. ,* < .
Alvarado occupied by Commodore Perry and Brigadier-general
Quitman, April 2, 1847.
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN MEXICO.
Tuspan taken by the naval forces, April 18, 1847.
Tabasco captured by Commodore Perry, June 16, 1847.
Brigadier-general Wool, in command of the centre division of
U. S. Army, arrived, with an aggregate force of 1954 men, from
San Antonio de Bexar, at the left bank of the Rio Grande, near
Presidio, on the 8th October ; entered Santa Rosa, in Chihuahua,
on the 24th of same month ; occupied Monclova, in Coahuila,
on 3d November ; arrived at Parras, December 5, and thence, on
same month of 1846, reached Saltillo, to participate afterwards,
gloriously, in the battle of Buena Vista.
Major-general Scott departed from the capital of the United
States, on 24th November, 1846, to assume command in chief of
the army. Sailed from New Orleans on 23d December, 1846
visited, with his staff, Brazos Santiago, Tampico, and the Island
of Lobos, and landed with the army from the fleet, on the 9th
As condensation is appropriate in matters which only collaterally
appertain to our narrative, the most prominent battles of the south
are collected, from official despatches, in the following tabular
May 8, 1846 -
Res.de la Palina
May 9, 1846
Sep. 23 & 24, 1846
Feb. 22 & 23, 1847
March 9 to 27,
Molino del Rey
City of Mexico
April 17 & 18,
Sept. 12 & 13,
I'd, w'ded It prn.
2,ooo| 3 ' 000
Major-general Taylor's despatch, of 17th May, 1846, gives the
enemy's loss in killed, wounded, and missing, in the two affairs of
the 8th and 9th of May, as 1000 men, "moderately estimated." The
MILITARY OPERATIONS IN MEXICO. 31
Mexican account sets down their loss, in the two actions, as 262
killed, 355 wounded, and 135 prisoners.
The despatch of March 6, 1847, from Major-general Taylor,
fixes the Mexican force, at Buena Vista, at 20,000, " as stated in
Santa Anna's summons, and as confirmed by all the information
since obtained;" and states that their killed and wounded "may
be fairly estimated at 1500, and will probably reach 2000."
The Mexican loss at Monterey was never ascertained ; it was
estimated at some one or two thousand killed and wounded.
The Mexicans estimated their loss, during the bombardment of
Vera Cruz, at nearly one thousand killed and wounded.
Major-general Scott's despatch, of April 23d, 1847, gives our
"whole force present, in action and in reserve," as 8500, and
estimates the enemy's at 12,000 or more. "About 3000 prisoners,
4 or 5000 stand of arms, and 43 pieces of artillery were taken."
And computes the enemy's loss, at Cerro Gordo, to have been
from 1000 to 1200.
From Gen, Scott's Despatches of September 18, 1847.
AUGUST 19, 20. Killed, 137, including 14 officers. Wounded, 877, including
62 officers. Missing, (probably killed,) 38 rank and file. Total, 1,052.
SEPTEMBER 8. Killed, 116, including 9 officers. Wounded, 665, including
49 officers. Missing, 18 rank and file. Total, 789.
SEPTEMBER 12, 13, 14. Killed, 130, including 10 officers. Wounded, 703,
including 68 officers. Missing, 29 rank and file. Total, 862.
Grand total of losses, 2,703, including 383 officers.
On the other hand, this small force has beaten, on the same occasions, in view
of their capital, the whole Mexican array, of (at the beginning) thirty odd thou
sand men, posted always in chosen positions, behind intrenchments, or more for
midable defences of nature and art : killed or wounded of that number more than
7,000 officers and men ; taken 3,730 prisoners, one-seventh officers, including
13 generals, of whom three had been Presidents of this Republic; captured more
than 20 colours and standards, 75 pieces of ordnance, besides 57 wall-pieces,
20,000 small-arms, an immense quantity of shots, shells, powder, &c.
Of that enemy, once so formidable in numbers, appointments, artillery, &c.,
twenty odd thousand have disbanded themselves in despair, leaving, as is known,
not more than three fragments the largest about 2,500 now wandering in dif
ferent directions, without magazines or a military chest, and living at free quar
ters upon their own people.
32 ARMY OF THE WEST.
"Army of the West" Purpose of the greatest importance Gen. Kearny
Orders and instructions for New Mexico and Upper California Civil
governments Forces organized at Fort Leavenworth Capture of Santa Fe -
Proclamations, &c. Legislative and Executive action thereon Expedition
Fort Treaties with Indians, &c. Orders to Col. Doniphan, &c. Marches
for Upper California.
THE existence of the war with Mexico having been recognised
by the act of Congress of May 13, 1846, the Executive of the
United States prepared to prosecute it with the utmost vigour.
The ports of Mexico on the Gulf, and on the Pacific, were placed
under blockade, and her territory invaded at several important
points. The operations on the Gulf, and of our armies in the
south of Mexico, have been rapidly sketched in the last chapter ;
and, if it be true, as it undoubtedly is, that their gallant achieve
ments have afforded " examples of courage and skill scarcely ex
celled in the history of military operations"* it is equally a
subject of patriotic exultation that our army and navy have earned
unfading laurels on the Pacific, and in the north.
The rapid and almost bloodless movements by which a territory,
vast and extensive as one-third of our entire Union, has been sub
jugated, are not alone objects of the deepest interest from the mo
mentous consideration, that the Conquest of California and New
Mexico may have finally dissolved the political ties which bound
these States to Mexico, and this consummation eventually become
the principal result of the Mexican war ; but that an absorbing
interest is created by the romantic and perilous enterprises of the
small " Army of the West," led, for thousands of miles, through
unexplored regions across trackless deserts and arid plains or
over mountains and through defiles whither the foot of civilized
man had seldom, if eyer penetrated now victoriously contending
* W. L. Marcy, Secretary of War.
ARMY OF THE WEST.
against vastly superior numbers of Mexicans, and anon chastising
savage tribes of Indians for cruelties and robberies perpetrated on
an enemy, from a bloody contest with whom they had issued, with
scarce time enough to bind up their wounds, or wipe the dust of
battle from their brows. In fact, it will be seen that an "almost
fabulous" interest attended the expeditions of our military and
naval forces in the west and north-west, apart from their great poli
tical importance, which has already engrossed so much legislative
discussion, and still occupies the press and the minds of the people.
That the* vigilance of our government was early directed to the
vulnerable points of Mexico, was apparent from the position of our
fleets and forces at the breaking out of the war. The "Army of
the West" was one of those instruments chosen by the executive,
at the earliest period of hostilities, to execute, in conjunction with
the Pacific squadron, a purpose of "the greatest importance."
And well and nobly did this little band of regulars and volunteers
accomplish the object of their enrolment.
Simultaneously with the recognition of the war between the
United States and Mexico, the President was authorized to accept
the services of volunteers, not to exceed 50,000, to serve for the
period of twelve months, or to the end of the war. Immediately
twenty-six regiments were called for from the western and south
western States. A regiment of mounted volunteers, thus called
out from Missouri, were mustered into service, on the 6th of June,
1846, at Fort Leavenworth, where, under orders from the War
Department, five companies of the First Regiment United States
Dragoons, with one volunteer troop of horse, two companies of foot,
and two of light artillery volunteers from St. Louis, were being
concentrated to compose an expedition to Santa Fe.
To the command of this force, afterwards increased as its pur
poses were enlarged, Col. Stephen W. Kearny, of the First Regi
ment United States Dragoons, was designated.
Col. Kearny ranked very high as an energetic and accom
plished officer, and his long service in the west, on the frontier and
among the Indians, had admirably qualified him to direct this very
difficult and distant enterprise to a successful termination.
The gallant achievements of Colonel, now Brigadier-general
Kearny, require some biographical notice of one who has won for
himself rank among the most distinguished of our American gene
rals. It is hoped that the concise sketch here given will be found,
at least accurate, though far short of the subject.
Stephen W. Kearny was born in New Jersey, where his parents
then resided, although they belonged to one of the old colonial
families of New York. At the age of sixteen years, young Kearny
was placed at Columbia College, New York city, to complete his
education. Here he much endeared himself to his classmates and
companions ; always punctiliously respectful and courteous in his
deportment, he never wounded the feeling of others, while the
serenity and equableness of his temper, joined to his unpretend
ing modesty, stern integrity, and cool and resolute determination
of character, won the highest respect of all his acquaintances. In
fact, he possessed in himself, and in his nature, so much of high
and chivalrous feeling, that he may be almost said to have been
born a soldier. It may not, therefore, be surprising that, when the
late war with Great Britain was about to be declared, no persua
sions of his friends or family could delay young Kearny from
leaving his collegiate studies though, as he was just about to
graduate with honour to himself, it is presumed his diploma followed
him in a few weeks and seeking a commission, which was be
stowed upon him, as first-lieutenant of Thirteenth Infantry, on the
12th March, 1812. He repaired promptly to his post on the Nia
gara frontier ; and, in the fall of 1812, participated in the battle of
dueenstown Heights, where, with others, he was taken prisoner.
Having been exchanged, we find him promoted to a captaincy in
the First Infantry, on the 1st of April, 1813. He is known to have
served through the war of 1812, with the reputation of a gallant,
intelligent, and energetic officer, who gave every promise of rising
to high distinction, should opportunity offer itself. On the 1st of
May, 1829, he was appointed major of the Third Infantry, of which
he had been brevet-major since April 1, 1823. On the organi
zation of the First Dragoons, March 4, 1833, he was made the
lieutenant-colonel; and, on the 4th July, 1836, he became tha
GENERAL KEARNY. 35
colonel of that regiment. For the last fifteen or twenty years, he
has been stationed in the far west at St. Louis, and generally at
Fort Leavenworth, on the Missouri in the dragoon service. He
has made frequent reconnoissances, in military expeditions, in that
region. In 1845, he marched, with five companies of his regi
ment, at least 2200 miles, as a summer campaign, in 99 days,
through the Indian country, a considerable portion of it a barren
wilderness, carrying their provisions and stores with them, and their
horses subsisting on the grass of the prairies. This tour swept
westward until it fell on the Oregon trail ; thence to the Nebraska,
&c., to Fort Laramie ; thence to the " South Pass," and to the
waters of the Green river, on the Colorado of the West ; and from
thence returned, by a route leading them some hundreds of miles
further south, to Fort Leavenworth, without the loss of a man.
Thus Col. Kearny had acquired such knowledge of the phy
sical features of the country, of the Indian habits, and of the
resources of a western life, as amply qualified him to act the pio
neer and commanding officer of the expedition which he so suc
cessfully conducted to Santa Fe, and afterwards extended to Cali
fornia. In personal appearance he has much the look and carriage
of the soldier of good stature, erect, and well formed, his sun-burnt
and somewhat care-worn countenance presents still a face of oval
proportions, intelligent, and dignified repose ; while the short black
hair, rapidly verging into gray, and keen eye, indicate the energy
of the man and the soldier. Col. Kearny married the step-daughter
of the celebrated Wm. Clark, of St. Louis, who penetrated,
with Meriwether Lewis, to the Columbia river, in 1804-5-6 ; and
is said to be rich, and independent of the profession of arms, which
he has long followed, and for which he is said ever to have had an
The projected movements of Col. Kearny on Santa Fe were
looked to with the most intense interest in Missouri, where so
many volunteers were anxious to get into the saddle, and take a
part in the gallant enterprise. However great the enthusiasm,
which even carried a delegation of seventy ladies up from St. Louis
to Fort Leavenworth, to present a flag to the Clay county volun-
36 PREPARATIONS AT FORT LEAVENWORTH.
teers, it was not deemed necessary to accept the services of other
than eight companies of mounted men from Missouri, under Col.
Doniphan, and Capt. Hudson's company of dragoons, " Lacleda
Rangers," of St. Louis, who served with the United States dra
goons a compliment to their discipline and efficiency ; Major
Clark's flying artillery battalion, composed of Capt. Fischer's
and Capt. Weightman's companies, of St. Louis ; and two com
panies of volunteer infantry, under Capts. Angney and Murphy,
The preparations were pushed forward with the utmost vigour.
Ordnance, subsistence, near a thousand mules for draught, several
hundred horses for the ordnance, and for mounting the dragoons,
at least three hundred wagons, baggage trains, &c.,and other stores
in proportion, were collected in June. The volunteers, during this
month, as they successively reached Fort Leavenworth, were
drilled and instructed, so that containing within themselves many
an old campaigner and hardy trapper of the western wilds and
Rocky Mountains it was then apparent, as it subsequently proved,
" they could not be beat"
With an energy that " gave assurance of the end" the faithful
and gallant performance of the duties assigned to them four
talented young officers of the United States Topographical En
gineers, Lieuts. William H. Emory, W. H. Warner, J. W.
Abert, and W. G. Peck, hurried on from the seat of govern
ment, and quickly completing, at St. Louis, their equipment for
the campaign, arranging their instruments, &c., reported to Col.
While thus preparing at the general rendezvous, rumours ar
rived from Santa Fe, of various species of hostile reception they
might expect one, which was reasonably near the truth, that
Governor Armijo was at Moro, about ninety miles this side of
Santa Fe, with about four thousand men, ready to engage with
any force that the United States might send against them. Two
companies of dragoons were despatched to intercept a party of
Mexican traders, who were charged, erroneously as it appeared,
afterwards, with conveying to Santa Fe a large quantity of arm3<
COL. KEARNY'S INSTRUCTIONS. 37
and ammunition, while other peaceful traders were assured that
private property and rights would be respected.
It was while thus energetically occupied in mustering, ordering,
and disciplining his forces, that Col. Kearny received, from the
Secretary of War, the highly important instructions,* of June 3,
1846, informing him, that "it had been decided by the President
to be of the greatest importance in the pending war with Mexico,
to take the earliest possession of Upper California." That an
expedition with that view was "hereby ordered," and that he was
designated to command it. And that, to enable him to be in suffi
cient force to conduct it successfully, an additional force of a thou
sand mounted men had been called for, from the governor of the
state of Missouri, to follow him in the direction of Santa Fe, and
to be under his orders, or the officer he might leave in command
at Santa Fe.
-In this communication, Col. Kearny was told that it was deemed
prudent the object of adding to the force under his command
should not, at that time, become a matter of public notoriety.
It was supposed the additional force would be behind that or
dered for the Santa Fe expedition, probably not more than three
weeks. That, should he take possession of Santa Fe with the
force already called out, and find himself in a condition to garri
son it with a small part of his command, (as the additional force
would soon be at that place,) he should with the remainder press
forward to California, and make such arrangements as to being
followed by the reinforcements before mentioned, as he might
deem safe and prudent. The Secretary cautioned him to provide
for retaining safe possession of Santa Fe, including the State of
New Mexico ; and should Col. Kearny deem it prudent to have
still more troops for the objects designated in the communication,
he should lose no time in forwarding to the department his opinion
on that point, and on all others connected with the enterprise^ "^Tr
fact, he was authorized to make a direct requisition on the gover-
* As this is an interesting document, though here closely followed, it is given
in the Appendix, No. 1.
38 COL. KEARNY'S INSTRUCTIONS.
nor of Missouri. He was informed that a large body of Mormon
emigrants were en route to California, to settle there, and desired
to use " all proper means to have a good understanding with them,
to the end that the United States might have their co-operation in
taking possession of, and holding, that territory." To aid in the
expedition against California, he was authorized to induce to vo-
,lunteer into the service a number not exceeding one-third of his
entire force, to be paid as other volunteers, and to allow them, so
far as it could properly be done, to designate their own officers.
It was supposed that a considerable number of American citizens,
well disposed towards the United States, were then settled on the
Sacramento river, near Suter's establishment, called "Nueva
Helvetia," and, should he find such to be the true state of things
fhere, he was authorized to organize, and receive into the service,
such portion of these citizens as he might think useful to aid him
in holding possession of the country, allowing them to select their
own officers so far as he should judge proper.
The choice of routes to enter California, was left to his judg
ment, and more ample means of accurate information, but a south
ern route (called the Caravan route, by which the wild horses are
brought from that country into New Mexico) was intimated as
practicable ; and it was suggested as not improbable, that it could
be passed over in the winter, or at least late in autumn.
The Secretary advised him, that, should the President be disap
pointed in his cherished hope of his being able to reach the inte
rior of Upper California before winter, he should make the best
arrangements he could for sustaining his forces during the winter,
and make an early movement in the spring. That, though very
desirable the expedition should reach California that season, (the
President not doubting he would make every possible effort to ac
complish it,) yet, if in his judgment it could not be undertaken
with reasonable prospect of success, he should defer it, as before
suggested, until spring.
Col. Kearny was informed it was expected the naval forces of
the United States were there, or soon would be, in the Pacific, and
in possession of all the towns on the sea-coast, and that they would
COL. KEARNY'S INSTRUCTIONS. 39
co-operate with him in the conquest of California. That arms,
ordnance, munitions of war and provisions, to be used in the
country, would be sent by sea to the squadron in the Pacific for
the land forces.
Should he conquer and take possession of New Mexico and
California, or considerable places in either, Col. Kearny was or
dered to establish civil governments therein abolishing all exist
ing arbitrary restrictions, so far as might be done with safety, and
in this it would be wise and prudent to continue all such exist
ing officers as were known to be friendly to the United States,
and would take the oath of allegiance to them. He was advised
the duties at the custom-houses ought, at once, to be reduced to
such rate as would be barely sufficient to maintain the necessary
officers. He was authorized to assure the people of those pro
vinces, that it was the wish and design of the United States to
provide for them a free government, with the least possible delay,
similar to that which existed in the territories, and then they
would be called on to exercise the rights of freemen in electing
their own representatives to the territorial legislature.
That it was foreseen that what related to the civil government
would be a difficult and unpleasant part of his duty, and much
must necessarily be left to his own discretion, and his whole con
duct must be so regulated as best to conciliate the inhabitants, and
render them friendly to the United States.
The Secretary of War instructs him that it is desirable the trade
between the citizens of the United States and the Mexican pro
vinces should, as usual, be continued as far as practicable under
the changed condition of things between the two countries ; cau
tions him to increase his supply of goods to be distributed as pre
sents to the Indians ; informs him that he will be furnished with
a proclamation, in the Spanish language, to be issued among the
Mexican people by him on his entering into or approaching their
country, and that he must use his utmost endeavours to have the
pledges and promises therein contained carried out to the utmost
extent ; and, finally, the Secretary tells Col. Kearny, in conclu
sion of this communication, marked " confidential," that he was
40 MARCH FROM FORT LEAVENWORTH.
directed by the President to say, that the rank of brevet brigadier-
general would be conferred on him as soon as he commenced his
movement towards California, and sent round to him by sea, or
over the country, or to the care of the commandant of our squad
ron in the Pacific, and that in that way cannon, arms, ammuni
tion, and supplies for the land forces would be sent to him.
Two days after the date of the above instruction, the following
letter of the Secretary of War was forwarded to Col. Kearny.
Washington, June 5th, 1846.
SIR : I enclosed to you a few copies of a proclamation pre
pared for Gen. Taylor, to issue to the Mexicans. I discover
that there are parts of it that will not answer our purpose for
Santa Fe or Upper California. You will not, therefore, use these
copies. It is intended to make the needful alterations in it, and,
thus altered, send on copies to you before you will have occasion
to distribute them. I must, however, urge you not to use those
which have been forwarded.
Subsequently, Congress were informed that "no proclamation,
modified as proposed, was sent" to Col. Kearny that "no pro
clamation for circulation was ever furnished to Gen. Kearny.
"A few copies of that prepared for, and sent to, Gen. Taylor,
were forwarded to Gen. Kearny, but he was requested not to use
them. These copies were the only proclamations sent T>y the
War Department to him," and that the Department "are not
aware that he ever used any of them."
By the last days of June, the energy and activity of Col.
Kearny, of his officers, and of the Secretary of War, had per
fected the arrangements at Fort Leavenworth. All were impa
tient for action every thing promised fairly the troops were in
excellent health and spirits the horses in better condition than
when they came there. The trumpet sounded then came the
joyous spring into the saddle of the dragoons and mounted men
the roll of the infantry drums the artillerists harnessing up their
draft horses and maneuvering with the "big guns" and they
BENT'S FORT. 41
were off on their distant tramp, over a wild country, where, for
hundreds of miles, a long train of baggage and provision wagons
carried, through tribes of savage and thieving Indians, their only
support until " they met the enemy and they were theirs."
Col. Kearny's well-known experience had been fully exercised
in putting the column in motion, so that the successive battalions,
stock animals, trains, &c., might not interfere with the subsistence,
foraging, and celerity of the march.
On the 27th, the Topographical Engineers started for the prai
ries, ahead of the main column. They had with them some eight
or ten "voyageurs," several pack mules, a baggage wagon, and a
spring car, with four mules harnessed to it, to carry the instru
The movement from Fort Leavenworth having been com
pleted, the troops travelled uninterruptedly on a most interesting
route "the Santa Fe trace," too often described to be necessary
here; until about the 1st. of August, when the whole original
force of about 1657 men concentrated at Bent's Fort, or rather,
for the convenience of grazing, about nine miles below. They
had then marched 564 miles from Fort Leavenworth, in excellent
order and fine spirits, without an accident, and in improved health
It is worthy of remark that the two infantry companies had out
marched, and reached, on foot, the fort in advance of the mounted
companies ; and, as showing the precision of experienced military
combination, and the energy and discipline of the volunteers as
well as regulars, it may be mentioned that many of the battalions
arrived at the hour, and the whole force on the day fixed upon by
The corrected longitude of Bent's Fort, as ascertained by Lieu
tenant Emory, and published by the Topographical Bureau, is
103 25' 45" west ; and latitude 38 2' 53" north. It is distant
from Santa Fe exactly 309 miles.
While the troops rested here, for four or five days, to recover
from the fatigues of the march, three spies from New Mexico were
brought in, and were so promenaded into through round and
42 COL. KEARNY'S PROCLAMATION.
about, and round about again the different encampments, as to be
made to entertain a very lively and exaggerated conception of the
number of the American forces, which they doubtless reported,
in full, to Gov. Armijo, on being dismissed unharmed by Col.
Kearny, with a message that he would see the governor in a few
At Bent's Fort, Col. Kearny held a talk with the Chyennes
Indians, advising them to peaceful pursuits, &c. Here, also, was
promulgated the following :
Proclamation to the citizens of New Mexico, by Colonel Kearny,
commanding the United States forces.
The undersigned enters New Mexico with a large military force,
for the purpose of seeking union with and ameliorating the condi
tion of its inhabitants. This he does under instructions from his
government, and with the assurance that he will be amply sus
tained in the accomplishment of this object. It is enjoined on the
citizens of New Mexico to remain quietly at their homes, and to
pursue their peaceful avocations. So long as they continue in
such pursuits, they will not be interfered with by the American
army, but will be respected and protected in their rights, both civil
All who take up arms or encourage resistance against the go
vernment of the United States will be regarded as enemies, and
will'be treated accordingly. S. W. KEARNY,
Colonel First Dragoons.
CAMP AT BENT'S FORT, ON THE ARKANSAS, July 3lst, 1846.
At Bent's Fort, as at Fort Leaven worth, various rumours reached
the camp of the movements of the enemy. By some it was said
there would be little or no fighting ; by others, that the Mexicans
were straining every nerve to fortify Santa Fe and Taos, and were,
elsewhere, marshalling their forces.
The ordnance was still on its way from Fort Leaven worth,
whence, as soon as prepared, Lieut. Warner, of Topographical
Engineers, had been left to bring it up with the column. This
ARMIJO'S LETTER. 43
was an undertaking not so easily accomplished with the only
means left ox-teams and, although this officer worked "like a
beaver," and struggled ahead with characteristic energy and per
severance, yet he was unable to reach Col. Kearny with his
charge, until after the occupation of Santa Fe, when his serviceable
fatigue and labours were gratefully and very complimentarily
acknowledged by the commander.
On the 3d of August, Col. Kearny, having determined not to
wait for his ordnance train, or for the new levies, pushed rapidly
on, that, by the celerity of his movements, he might frustrate any
combination of the forces of the enemy.
On the march, several hundred horses and mules had to be left
behind, unable longer to follow. On the 13th, their progress had
overcome the sandy soil, bad quality of the grass, want of good
water, and the inconvenience of almost insupportable heat and hot
winds ; for they had begun to ascend the great chain of moun
tains running north and south on the west side of the Rio Grande,
and had reached the settlements.
The march now became intensely interesting. Messengers
arrived from Armijo with a letter to Col. Kearny, in answer to
one sent by Capt. Cooke, of Dragoons, some days previous. " It
was a sensible, straight-forward letter, and if written by an Ame
rican, or by an Englishman, would have meant this : You have
notified me that you intend to take possession of the country I
govern. The people of the country have risen in mass to my de
fence. If you get the country, it will be because you prove the
strongest in battle. I suggest to you to stop at the Sapilla, and I
will march to the Vegos. We will meet and negotiate on the
plains between them."*
Messages reached the advancing columns from Americans at
Santa Fe and other towns, stating they were very much alarmed
for their own safety, the Mexicans having told them that, if they
were defeated, they would return and take full vengeance on them.
They stated variously the forces which had gone out to meet the
* Lieut. Emory's Journal, in Union" of 22d Oct. 1846.
The Spy company, in advance, met four well-mounted and
armed Mexicans, who summoned Capt. Bent and his small party
to surrender, but quickly concluded it would be most advisable to
surrender themselves, and accordingly they were added to other
prisoners made of the scouts of the enemy. Some of these were
disarmed, and sent forth to the villages with proclamations.
On the 14th, the order of march was the order of battle.- (Here the
author finds a published description of the exciting events of this
period, so graphical and authentic, that he fears to attempt its abridg
ment, as well on account of its great interest, as that he must avow his
inability to do it justice, otherwise than by copying it entire.)*
" Friday, August 14. Started at 7 o'clock ; at four miles met
four Mexicans sent by Gov. Armijo to Gen. Kearny with a letter.
They were dragoons, dressed in roundabout and pants of light
blue cloth, similar to our own dragoons, with a red stripe down the
outer seam of the pants. They all wore large Mexican hats ;
there was a lieutenant, sergeant and two privates. They rode
small horses. The lieutenant had a sabre ; the others were armed
with carbines and lances. They made a very respectable appear
ance, but such soldiers cannot fight United States dragoons. Their
heavy horses and superior equipment will conquer them. The
four dragoons above spoken of, and those taken a day or two since,
were set at large to-day. The colonel told them that he had come
with a sufficient force to extend our laws over them. That he
came as their friend. That he came to give protection alike to the
poor man and the rich. That, although he had the power to do
as he pleased, still his orders were to treat all who remained at
home in the peaceful pursuit of their business, as friends. But,
that if found in arms against him, the vengeance of his government
and army would be poured out upon them. He told them that,
not 'an onion or a pepper would be taken from them without a
full equivalent in cash ;' that their persons, property and religion,
* It assumes the shape of a diary, and from the position of the author near
the general colrimanding may be regarded, with all its statements, as of the
most authentic character." St. Louis Republican, Sept. 24, 1846, and Washing'
ton Union," Oct. 2, 1846.
MEXICAN ARMY. 45
would be respected. That he would soon be in Santa Fe, and that
he hoped to meet Gov. Arrnijo and shake hands with him as a
friend ; but if that were denied him, he had a force sufficient to
put down all opposition, and that he would certainly do it. We
are encamped at the Passes : at this place runs a small mountain
stream, and near it, a village containing probably one hundred mud-
"There were 300 mounted men here yesterday. They have
all gone to Santa Fe, no doubt to join the main army, which is
said to be 12,000 strong 2,000 well armed, and four pieces of
artillery, (one six-pounder taken from the Santa Fe prisoners.)
The other 10,000 are said to be armed with bows and arrows,
slings, and other weapons. The Mexican dragoons report that
Capt. Cooke left Santa Fe with them, but as they got a change of
horses, they out-rode him. (The captain had been sent from Bent's
Fort, by Gen. Kearny, with letters to Gov. Armijo.) He will be
with us to-morrow. From white men, who reside here, we learn
that the governor exercises the most despotic sway over the com
mon people, aided by the priests. They say to such men as we
have met, 'Go on such a road, ascertain where Cooke and his men
are, and return to me at such a time.' They furnish no man for the
performance of the duty, and give no compensation. Yet no Mexi
can dare to refuse, or fail to perform the duty. What a change
will be effected among these people when they are emancipated.
If Gen. Kearny succeeds in this expedition without inflicting any
pain, he will be the greatest man that has ever been in New
Mexico. There are extensive fields of corn near us, cultivated by
irrigation. After spring sets in, there is no rain here till in Au
gust, when they have refreshing showers, and the grass begins to
grow again. The rain of this season commenced about ten days
since, and grass is more abundant. But for this, it would be im
possible to take our animals to Santa Fe, probably not beyond this
place. Gen. Kearny's * good luck' still attends him. We have
passed, within the last two days, cattle and sheep enough to sub
sist the army all winter, and we have no fear of starving.
" Saturday, August 15. Started at 7, A. M., and passed through
46 ADDRESS OF GEN. KEARNY.
the village. The colonel was overtaken at this place by Major
Swords, from Fort Leavenworth, who brought him a commission
"After having passed through the village, the troops halted near
it, while the general addressed the alcalde and people from the top
of one of the houses. He told them * that he came by order of
the government of the United States to take possession of New
Mexico, and to extend the laws of the United States over them
That he had an ample force with him, and that another army woul
soon join them. That, in future, they were absolved from all alle
giance to the Mexican government and Governor Armijo, and mus
hold allegiance to the United States, and to him as their governor
That, for this allegiance, they would be protected by the Unitec
States government from the Indians, (who are dreadful scourges t<
them,) and from all their enemies. That he came to protect the
poor man as well as the rich man. That, if they remained peace
ably at home, they would be considered good citizens ; but, if founc
fighting against him, they would be considered traitors, and treated
"He continued the alcalde in his office, and told him to be go
verned by the laws of Mexico for the present.
" He stated to them that he had been well informed * that some
of the priests had endeavoured to make them believe that he was
coming to destroy their religion, and to inflict grievous wrongs
upon them.' This, he said, was false. He told them that their
persons, property, and religion would not be interfered with.
'Now,' said he, * under these circumstances, are you, Mr. Alcalde,
and you, two captains of militia, willing to take the oath of allegi
ance to the United States?' Two of them readily consented, bu
one of the captains evaded the question. The general demandec
a categorical answer. The captain said * Yes,' but it was eviden
it was with a bad grace. They then raised their hands and mad*
the sign of the cross with the thumb and finger, all present unco
vering their heads, and the general in a solemn manner adminis
tered the following oath : ' You do swear to hold faithful allegiance
to the United States, and to defend its government and laws against
ORDER OF MARCH. 47
all its enemies, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,'
or words to that effect. The general then said : * I will shake
hands with them as good friends.' When he came to the captain,
who did not seern to enter fully into the matter, he took him by the
hand, and told the interpreter, * Tell the man to look me in the eye.'
The general gave him one of his significant smiles, and with his
keen eyes fixed firmly on him, seemed to say, ' I know you are a
rascal;' (such he no doubt was,) but the others, I think, were
honest. He then told the people, (about two hundred,) ' I shake
hands with you all, through your alcalde, and hail you as good
citizens of the United States :' upon which they raised a general
shout. At this town are extensive fields of wheat and corn, culti
vated by irrigation, from a beautiful creek. The water is taken
out on each side in canals, and spread over their fields. It was a
beautiful sight to see the clear mountain water rushing through
these canals, and producing luxuriant fields of corn and wheat,
where rain so seldom falls.
"Our camp was near these fields, and although sentinels were
placed very near together, with strict orders to keep every animal
out of them, yet some did get in, and some damage was done.
The general told the 'alcalde that he had used every precaution to
prevent ' any interference with their crops,' yet l they had sus
tained some loss.' He told him to examine the fields and ascertain
what the damage was to each man, to send him a statement of it to
Santa Fe, and that full compensation should be paid them. They
seemed delighted with this exemplification of equal justice a thing
not dreamed of in New Mexico, under the rule of Armijo.
"News reached the general last night, that we would have a fight
to-day in one of the mountain gorges, and our movement has been
in a strict military manner. When paasing through these narrow
defiles, (where an enemy would be most formidable,) the word
* draw sabre' was given, and we passed through at a fast trot.
But no enemy has been seen. The infantry passed over the moun
tain to take them in rear. We passed through several other vil
lages, where the general assembled the inhabitants, and proceeded
as with the first. The two last appeared happy to be recognised
48 MEXICAN VILLAGES.
as citizens of the United States, and were seen to embrace each
other in token of their joy at the change of government. At the.
last one, they brought forward their wives to receive the congratu
lations of the general, (whose manner on such occasions is most-
happy,) and it was evident that his words had gladdened their
hearts, for they smiled upon him in a manner which woman alone
knows how to do. We encamped at 4, P. M., in poor grass, having
marched seventeen miles. Capt. Cooke met us to-day, from Santa
Fe, and says Governor Armijo will meet us with an army. He
had been kindly treated while in Santa Fe, and smoked many a
*segarito' from the fair lips of the ladies.
"The villages we have passed to-day are built of sun-burnt
bricks. The houses have flat roofs, covered with earth, and are
dry and comfortable from the absence of rain or moisture. Each
one has a church, and a graveyard, with high walls of sun-burnt
brick. There is more intelligence among them than I expected
to find, and with a good government and protection from the In
dians, they will become a happy people.
" The Eutaws have recently stolen their stock, and carried off
several children. Well may they hail this revolution as a bless
ing. One of the alcaldes to-day said, that God ruled the destinies
of men, and that as we had come with a strong army among them
to change their form of government, it must be right, and he sub
mitted cheerfully. Major Swords and Lieut. Gilmer brought us
the mail to the 19th of July, and many a heart was made glad by
tidings from wives, mothers, children, and dearly beloved ones.
There are plenty of cattle, sheep, and goats in the country, and
we shall fare well enough.
" Sunday, August 16. Started at the usual hour, and "at seven
miles, came to the village of St. Miguel, built like the others, of
sun-burnt brick, and with flat roofs. After much delay, the
alcalde and padre were found, and presented to Gen. Kearny.
They received him politely, but it was evident they did not relish
an interview with him. This village contains a respectable church,
and about two or three hundred houses. The general expressed
a wish to ascend one of the houses, with the priest and alcalde,
TRANSFER OF POWER. 49
and to address the people of the town, informing them of the
object of his mission. After many evasions, delays, and useless
speeches, the padre made a speech, stating that " he was a Mexi
can, but should obey the laws that were placed over him for the
time, but if the general should point all his cannon at his breast,
he could not consent to go up there and address the people."
"The general very mildly told him, through the interpreter, Mr.
Robideau, that he had not come to injure him, nor did he wish
him to address the people. He only wished him to go up there,
and hear him (the general) address them. The padre still fought
shy, and commenced a long speech, which the general interrupted,
and told him he had no time to listen to . ' useless remarks,' and
repeated, that he only wanted him to go up and listen to his
speech. He consented. The general made pretty much the
same remarks to the alcalde and people that he had made to the
people of the other villages. He assured them that he had an
ample force, and would have possession of the country against all
opposition ; but gave them assurances of the friendship and pro
tection of the United States. He stated to them that this had
never been given them by the government of Mexico, but that the
United States were able, and would certainly protect them, not
only in their persons, property, and religion, but against the cruel
invasion of the Indians. That they saw but a small part of the
force that was at his disposal. Many more troops were near him
on another road, (some of which he showed them a mile or two
distant,) and that another army would, probably, be through their
village in three weeks. After this, he said, 'Mr. Alcalde, are
you willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States ?'
He replied, that ' he would prefer waiting till the general had
taken possession of the capital.' The general told him, ' it was
sufficient for him to know that he had possession of his village.'
He then consented, and with the usual formalities, he said : ' You
swear, that you will bear true allegiance to the government of the
United States of America.' The alcalde said : ' Provided, I can
be protected in my religion.' The general said: *I swear you
shall be.' He then continued, ' and that you will defend her
50 BATTLE EXPECTED.
against all her enemies and opposers, in the name of the Father,
the Son, and Holy Ghost Amen.'
"The general then said: ' I continue you as the alcalde of this
village ; and require you, the inhabitants of this village, to obey
him as such. Your laws will be continued for the present, but as
soon as I have time to examine them, if any change can be made
that will be for your benefit, it shall be done.' After shaking
hands with them, he left. The padre then invited him to his
house, and gave them and his staff refreshments ; and after sun
dry hugs, jokes, and professions of friendship, with an expression
from the general, that the * better they became acquainted, the
better friends they would be,' and an invitation to the padre to
visit him at Santa Fe, (which he promised,) we left the village.
The padre was evidently the ruling spirit of the village, and the
alcalde was under great restraint by his presence. The visit to
the priest, and the frank and friendly manner of the general had
the desired effect, and I believe they parted the best of friends,
and have no doubt that the inhabitants of St. Miguel will soon be
as good democrats as can be found in Missouri.
"The alcalde informed the general that 400 men left the village to
join the Mexican army, but that 200 had returned home.
" Soon after leaving this village, an express arrived from Santa Fe,
informing the general that a large force would oppose his march
fifteen miles from that place, in a deep ravine. It was headed by
an individual known as Salazar. That Gen. Armijo refused to
command them, and said he would defend the town. The same
information was soon after brought by Puebla Indians, who said
there was a large force of their people among the Mexicans, armed
with bows and arrows ; that their people had been forced into the
service, and that their chiefs would not permit them to take their
" As it is not more than two days' march to Santa Fe, if we have
a fight, it will probably be to-morrow. Marched seventeen miles.
"Monday, August 17. Started at the usual time. Our picket-
guard took a prisoner, the son of the noted Salazar, well remem
bered by the Texan prisoners for his cruelties to them. He stated
ANCIENT TOWN OF PECOS. 51
that the Mexican army had Jeft the canon and gone home. The
general told him he would keep him a prisoner, and if he found
that he had told him falsely, he would hang him. We soon met
others from Santa Fe, who congratulated the general on his arrival
in the country, and their deliverance from the tyrannical rule of
"They further said, that Armijo had taken one hundred dragoons
and his cannon, and gone this morning towards Chihuahua. We
passed, to-day, the ruins of the ancient town of Pecos. I visited
it with some Mexicans, and an interpreter, who gave me a full
account of it. It was said to have been built long before the con
quest. It stands on an eminence. The -dwellings were built of
small stones and rnud ; some of the buildings are still so far perfect
as to show three full stories. There were four rooms under ground,
fifteen feet deep, and twenty-five feet across, in a circular form.
In one of these rooms burned the * holy fire,' which was kindled
many centuries before the conquest ; and when the Pecos Indians-
were converted to the Catholic faith, they still continued their own
religious rites, and among them the ' sacred fire,' which never
ceased to burn, till seven years since, when the village was broken
up. The population is probably one thousand. The church is
large, and although in ruins, was evidently a fine building. It was
built after the conquest. The eastern roof of the main building is still
good it is filled with birds. As we came in front of it, the Mexi
cans took off their hats, and on entering the building did the same.
The general learned, to-day, that Salazar had been in command at
the canon, and that he had passed round us and gone to St. Mi
guel, the town we passed yesterday. The general sent him word
that he had his son a prisoner, and would treat him well, if the
father remained peaceable, but if he took up arms, or excited the
people to resistance, he would hang him.
" We encamped at 3, p. M., on the Pecos creek, in excellent grass,
where was a beautiful farm, well watered distance, to-day, fifteen
and three-quarter miles.
"An abundance of vegetables have been brought into camp this
evening, and we have fared better than since we left Missouri.
52 ENTRANCE INTO SANTA FE.
Bread, coffee, and bacon are-excellent articles of food, when accom
panied with other little 'fixings,' which ladies only can provide
us with, but of themselves, after a few weeks, campaigners be
come a little tired.
"An. American gentleman has just arrived in camp from Sanla
Fe ; he left at 12, M., to-day, and says that after the governor's
abdication, the alcaldes held a meeting, and gravely discussed the
propriety of tearing down the churches to prevent their being con
verted into barracks, and that the American citizens interfered,
and assured them that they had nothing to fear on that subject, and
thereby saved the churches. A lady also sent for him this morn
ing, and asked him if he did not think it advisable for her to leave
the town, with her daughters, to save them from dishonour. He
advised her by all means to remain at home, and assured her that
she and her daughters were in no danger from the approach of the
"Most of the respectable people of the town have left, and many
country people are going to town for protection.
" Tuesday, August 18. Started as usual, and at six miles came
to the canon, where the Mexican army had been assembled. There
had been 3000 troops there, but it seems that the nearer we ap
proached them, the fewer they became, and when we passed
through they had all gone. The position they chose was near the
lower end, and it was one of great strength. The passage was
not more than forty feet wide in front, they had made an obstruc
tion with timber, and beyond this, at 300 yards' distance, was an
eminence in the road, on which their cannon had been placed ;
and it was thought by us that their position was equal to 5000
men. We reached the hill which overlooks Santa Fe, at 5, P. M.
Major Clark's artillery was put into line, and the mounted troops
and infantry were marched through the town to the palace, (as it
is called,) on the public square, where the general and his staff
dismounted, and were received by the acting governor, and other
dignitaries, and conducted to a large room. The general stated, in
a few words, the object of his visit, and gave assurances of safety
and protection to all unoffending citizens. While this transpired,
POSSESSION OF SANTA FE. 53
the stars and stripes were hoisted on the staff which is attached
to the palace, by Major Swgrds, and as soon as it was seen to
wave above the buildings, it was hailed by a national salute from
the batteries of Capts. Fischer and Weightman, under the command
of Major Clark. While the general was proclaiming the conquest
of New Mexico, as a part of the United States, the first gun was
heard. ' There,' said he, ' my guns proclaim that the flag of the
United States floats over this capital.' The people appeared satis
fied. The general slept in the palace, (we democrats must call it
the governor's house.) One company of dragoons was kept in the
city as a guard, and the business of the day was ended.
" Thus, in the short space of fifty days, has an army been
marched nearly 900 miles, over a desert country, and conquered
a province of 80,000 souls, without firing a gun a success which
may be attributed mainly to the skill and ability with which Gen.
Kearny has managed this arduous and delicate business. In ex
plaining his object in coming into the country, and the kindness
he felt for the inhabitants, he was mild and courteous ; but then,
(would add,) 'I claim the whole of New Mexico for the United
States. I put my hand on, it from this moment, (bringing his
hand firmly down on his thigh,) and demand obedience to its
" Wednesday, August 19. The general addressed the whole
people to-day, more at length than he had on other occasions, and
took particular care to give them the most positive assurances of
protection in their persons, property, and religion. Many families
had fled on his approach, and he told their friends to bring them
back, and to say to them that they would be more safe under his
administration than they had ever been. He stated, that in taking
possession of New Mexico, he claimed the whole of it for the
United States, without reference to the Rio Grande. He absolved
them from their allegiance to Mexico and Governor Armijo, and
proclaimed himself governor of New Mexico, and claimed them
as citizens of the United States.
" The acting governor and alcaldes then took the oath of alle
giance to the United States, and the people, with a simultaneous
54 GEN. KEARNY AND THE INHABITANTS.
shout, exclaimed ' Vive h General.'' The acting governor thi
addressed the people as follows : ,
"'John Baptist Vigil, alcalde, political and military governor,
pro tern., of the department of New Mexico, to the inhabitants of
Santa Fe, the capital thereof, greeting : It having been out of my
power, by all the exertions that I could put in practice, to calm
the fears impressed on the inhabitants by the desertion of Gen.
Don Manuel Armijo and his soldiers, and what was most frightful,
he having made them conceive, on the approach of the military
forces of the government of the United States of North America
to the capital, that said forces were composed of cruel and sanguin
ary savages, and for which many families have left their homes
to hide themselves in the desert believing that no security, no
protection of their lives or property was to be expected from the
commander of said forces ; and in order to appease these fears, I
thought it convenient and necessary to order to be set up in the
most public places, the proclamation of the chief of said forces, of
which the following is its tenor.' He then read the proclamation
which Gen. Kearny had sent among the Mexicans in advance.
" Thursday ', August 20, and Friday 21. The general sits in
his room, and is constantly receiving visits from the officers of ex-
Governor Armijo and others, who fled on his approach. To all
who remain quiet and peaceable, he promises protection. Many
of them come into his presence very much disquieted, but he has
the happy faculty of calming all their fears, and he is winning
laurels among them daily. Ex-Governor Armijo has certainly
fled. The cannon he took from the place have been retaken by
Capt. Fischer, and will be here soon. The gun taken from the
Texan prisoners was left in a mountain, carriage destroyed ; the
gun, a brass six-pounder, has been recovered.
" Saturday, August 21. The general is still receiving visits
and attending to matters and things which are referred to him.
Capt. Waldo, of the volunteers, is translating the few written laws
which can be found.
" Sunday, August 23. The general and his staff, and some
other officers went to church to-day. There are no seats in the
GOVERNOR ARMIJO. 55
church, except one for the governor, and a bench on which his
subs sit. Gen. Kearny occupied the former, and we the latter.
The rich and the ragged kneel or sit on the floor, as best they can.
When the priests were ready, the service commenced with a piece
of music, not unlike what I have heard in the theatre, and pretty
well played. This continued with different pieces of music till
the ceremony was over. After which, they escorted the general
to his quarters with music.
" There is evidently a large proportion of very ignorant people
here, and many of them seem to think, judging from their deport
ment, that they have no rights, and are bound to obey their supe
riors. When our laws and institutions are established here, the
resources of the country will be developed, and these people will
become prosperous and happy."*
It subsequently appeared, that Governor Armijo had actually
4000 men at his command, but very badly armed ; and that on
the 16th, they left for the place appointed as the battle-ground.
When he got there, however, a council of his officers was called,
and they refused to fight. Very soon after this determination,
Gov. Armijo turned his head towards Chihuahua, followed by a
In fact, the star-spangled banner now waved over the capital of
New Mexico. American sentinels guarded the town ; American
soldiers paraded on the public plaza. On the highlands south,
tent upon tent was to be seen, their inmates busily engaged clean
ing their armour, drilling, and attending to their various military
duties; the cannon of Major Clark's battalion pointing signifi
cantly with their muzzles towards the town all denoting that the
war east of the Rio Grande was ended. The fall of the capital
* The unofficial journal" of Lieut. Emory, chief of the Engineer staff of
Gen. Kearny's command, distinguished for his intelligence as an officer and a
man, and now Lieutenant-colonel of Col. G. W. Hughes's regiment, was pub
lished in the Union" of 22d and 23d of October, and 5th of November, 1846. It
confirms and gives these incidents, &c., in greater detail. The limits of this
work preclude the insertion here, of what will be found exceedingly interesting
o those who desire fuller details than this work professes to give.
56 COUNTRY ROUND SANTA FE.
was in effect the fall of the country. Here a scarcity of forage
was experienced, and portions of the troops were necessarily
stationed with almost all the horses at villages around some
of them many miles distant for the purpose of grazing the ani
The highly efficient quartermaster, Major T. Swords, of United
States Dragoons, wrote Gen. Jesup : "Should the additional regi
ment of Missouri Volunteers, under Col. Price, be stationed in this
section of country during the coming winter, I see but little pros
pect of their animals getting through it, as there will be no sur
plus forage in the country, and the grazing for miles around is
said to be entirely eaten up. The country round here is, indeed,
too poor to sustain any living thing but the wretched inhabitants,
their donkeys, goats, and sheep. Should a large military force be
kept in the country, it must be attended with enormous expense
the country furnishing but few of the articles necessary for the
support of an army."
Lieut. Emory, also, speaks of the country round about Santa
Fe, as " poor and barren," but important in a military point of
Of the gallant volunteers, officers and men, a most interesting
and original, as gallant and noble rough yet generous kind yet
brave a set as ever mingled strangers with a strange people
strange manners strange customs they to the Mexicans, and
the Mexicans to them they and their adventures are too full of
pleasant interest to venture upon here, else this work would be
enlarged beyond its prescribed limits.
Colonel, now Brigadier-general Kearny, was laboriously occu
pied with his various responsible duties. He early ordered the
erection of a fort, a site for which was selected within six hun
dred yards of the town, and from sixty to one hundred feet above
it. The Engineer officers, Lieuts. Emory,. Gilmer and Peck, la
boured assiduously until, under their superintendence, arose a most
imposing structure, called Fort Marcy. A tall flag-staff, erected
by the quartermaster's department spire upon spire towering to
wards the heavens, and bearing the American banner, excited thj
PROCLAMATION OF GEN. KEARNY. 57
wonder -of the natives so far that old men were said to have
walked sixty miles to look upon it.
The chiefs and head men of the Puebla Indians came in to
give in their adhesion. These are represented as a large and for
midable band, yet among the most peaceful of New Mexico.
A band of Navahoes were told of their plundering habits, and,
if the Mexicans were again disturbed, they would be hung.
Here was issued the following :
Proclamation to the Inhabitants of New Mexico, by Brigadier-
general S. W. Kearny, commanding the troops of the United
States in the same.
As, by the act of the republic of Mexico, a state of war exists
between that government and the United States ; and as the un
dersigned, at the head of his troops, on the 18th instant, took pos
session of Santa Fe, the capital of the department of New Mex
ico, he now announces his intention to hold the department, with
its original boundaries, (on both sides of the Del Norte,) as a part
of the United States, and under the name of the Territory of
The undersigned has come to New Mexico with a strong mili
tary force, and an equally strong one is following close in his rear.
He has more troops than is necessary to put down any opposition
that can possibly be brought against him, and therefore it would
be but folly or madness for any dissatisfied or discontented persons
to think of resisting him.
The undersigned has instructions from his government to re
spect the religious institutions of New Mexico to protect the
property of the church to cause the worship of those belonging
to it to be undisturbed, and their religious rights in the amplest
manner preserved to them also to protect the persons and pro
perty of all quiet and peaceable inhabitants within its boundaries
against their enemies, the Eutaws, the Navajoes, and others ;
and when he assures all that it will be his pleasure, as well as' his
duty, to comply with those instructions, he calls upon them to
exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, and
58 PROCLAMATION OF GEN. KEARNY-
in maintaining the authority and efficacy of the laws. And he
requires of those who have left their homes and taken up arms
against the troops of the United States to return forthwith to them,
or else they will be considered as enemies and traitors, subjecting
their persons to punishment and their property to seizure and con
fiscation for the benefit of the public treasury.
It is the wish and intention of the United States to provide for
New Mexico a free government, with the least possible delay,
similar to those in the United States ; and the people of New
Mexico will then be called on to exercise the rights of freemen, in
electing their own representatives to the territorial legislature.
But until this can be done, the laws hitherto in existence will be
continued until changed or modified by competent authority ; and
those persons holding office will continue in the same for the pre
sent, provided they will consider themselves good citizens, rind
are willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.
The United States hereby absolve all persons residing within
the boundaries of New Mexico from any further allegiance to the
republic of Mexico, and hereby claim them as citizens of the
United States. Those who remain quiet and peaceable will be
considered good citizens, and receive protection those who are
found in arms, or instigating others against the United States, will
be considered as traitors, and treated accordingly.
Don Manuel Armijo, the late governor of this department, has
fled from it : the undersigned has taken possession of it without
firing a gun, or spilling a single drop of blood, in which he most
truly rejoices, and, for the present, will be considered as governor
of the territory.
Given at Santa Fe, the capital of the territory of New Mexico,
this 22d day of August, 1846, and in the 71st year of the Inde
pendence of the United States. S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general U. S. Army.
By the Governor, JUAN BAUTISTA VIGIL Y ALAND.
And oh the day after, the following letter was addressed to
Gen. Roger Jones :
GEN. KEARNY'S REPORT. 59
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE WEST,
Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 24, 1846.
SIR : I have to report, that on the 18th instant, the army under
my command marched into this city, the capital of New Mexico,
having met with no armed resistance ; the Mexican troops, num
bering about 4000, -which had been collected on the road under
Governor Armijo to oppose us, having dispersed on our approach
ing them, and the governor himself having fled with a troop of his
dragoons, towards Chihuahua. On the 22d, I issued a proclama
tion, claiming the whole of New Mexico, with its then bounda
ries, as a territory of the United States of America, and taking it
under our protection. I send, herewith, copies of all official
papers on the subject. The people of the territory are now per
fectly tranquil, and can easily be kept so. The intelligent portion
know the advantages they are to derive from the change of go
vernment, and express their satisfaction at it.
In a few days, I shall march down the Del Norte, and visit
some of the principal cities below, for the purpose of seeing the
people and explaining to them personally our intentions relating
to the territory. On my return (which will be in two or three
weeks) a civil government shall be organized, and the officers ap
pointed for it ; after which, I will be ready to start for Upper
California, which I hope may be by the latter end of next month ;
and in such case, I shall expect to have possession of that depart
ment by the close of November.
I have not heard from or of Colonel Price and his command,
which he was to raise and bring here, and have received but
vague rumours of Captain Allen and the Mormons. I suppose,
however, they will all be here in a few weeks. Captain Allen's
command will accompany me to the Pacific, and the number of
efficient men he brings will determine the additional number I
must take from here. After deciding upon that, and upon the
number which will be necessary to hold this territory, I- shall send
the surplus to Chihuahua, to report to Brigadier-general Wool. I
enclose a copy of my communication to him of the 22d instant.
. On the 15th instant, I received yours of 2d and 3d July, the
60 ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS.
former enclosing a copy of a letter to Captain Tompkins, Third
Artillery, from the general-in-chief the latter enclosing for me a
commission of brigadier-general, which I hereby accept of, and
for which I offer to the President and Senate my acknowledgment
and thanks for the honour they have conferred on me.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general R. JONES, Brigadier-general.
Adjutant- general U. S. A. Washington.
In a word, the expedition of Gen. Kearny with the " Army of
the West" had without firing a gun, or spilling a drop of blood,
and after a march of 873 miles in forty-nine days, resulted, thus
far, in the most successful triumph which even the most sanguine
could have imagined.
On the other hand, it is necessary to state, that the " orders or
instructions" relating to the "occupation of Mexican territory,"
together with the substance, intent, and meaning, &c., of the pro
clamations, laws, &c., promulgated by military and naval com
manders, in New Mexico and in California, became a subject of
discussion in the Congress of 1846-7.
In answer to a call from the House of Representatives, of De
cember 15, 1846, to communicate all " orders or instructions" to any
military, naval, or other officers of the government, " in relation to
the establishment or organization of civil government in any por
tion of the territory of Mexico which has or might be taken pos
session of by the army or navy of the United States," the Presi
dent, on the 22d of that month, replied :
" These orders and instructions were given to regulate the exer
cise of the rights of a belligerent, engaged in actual war, over such
portions of the territory of our enemy as, by military conquest,
might be 'taken possession of and be occupied by our armed
forces rights necessarily resulting from a state of war, and clearly
recognised by the laws of nations. This was all the authority
which could be delegated to our military and naval commanders,
and its exercise was indispensable to the secure occupation and
possession of territory of the enemy which might be conquered.
The regulations authorized were temporary, and dependent on the
rights acquired by conquest. They were authorized as belligerent
rights, and were to be carried into effect by military or naval offi
cers. They were but the amelioration of martial law, which
modern civilization requires, and were due as well to the security
of the conquest, as to the inhabitants of the conquered territory.
" Among the documents accompanying the report of the Secre
tary of War, will be found (see Ex. Doc. No. 19, House of Reps.
2d sess. 29th Cong., from which these extracts are made) a 'form
of government,' 'established and organized' by the military com
mander who conquered and occupied, with his forces, the territory
of New Mexico. This document was received at the War De
partment in the latter part of the last month, and as will be per
ceived by the report of the Secretary of War, was not, for the rea
sons stated by that officer, brought to my notice until after my
annual message of the 8th instant was communicated to Congress.
" It is declared on its face to be a * temporary government of the
said territory;' but there are portions of it which purport to 'es
tablish and organize' a permanent territorial government of the
United States over the territory, and to impart to its inhabitants
political rights which, under the Constitution 'of the United States,
can be enjoyed permanently only by citizens of the United States.
These have not been 'approved and recognised' by me. Such
organized regulations as have been established in any of the con
quered territories for the security of our conquest, for the preser
vation of order, for the protection of the rights of the inhabitants,
.and for depriving the enemy of the advantages of these territories
while the military possession of them by the forces of the United
States continue, will be recognised and approved.
" It will be apparent, from the reports of the officers who have
been required by the success which has crowned their arms to ex
ercise the powers of temporary government over the conquered
territories, that if any excess of power has been exercised, the
departure has been the offspring of a patriotic desire to give to the
inhabitants the privileges and immunities so cherished by the peo-
62 REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
pie of our own country, and which they believed calculated to
improve their condition and promote their prosperity. Any such
excess has resulted in no practical injury, but can and will be early
corrected, in a manner to alienate as little as possible the good feel
ings of the inhabitants of the conquered territory."
Accompanying the reply of the President, was the report of the
Secretary of War, above alluded to, which is here given entire :
WAR DEPARTMENT, December 21, 1846.
SIR: In compliance with your request to be furnished with all
the information in the War Department in regard to the objects of
inquiry embraced in the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 15th instant, I have the honour to report that the accompany
ing papers, numbered from 1 to 24, contain all the orders and
instructions which have issued from this department to any officer
of the army " in relation to the establishment or organization of
civil government in any portion of the territory of Mexico, which
has been or might be taken possession of by the army or navy of
the United States." They also furnish all the information in this
department in relation to any form of government which any such
officer has established or organized, and also in relation to any ap
proval or recognition of such government.
As the information called for by the resolution of the House of
Representatives is .contained in various despatches "which relate
principally to military operations, I have preferred, in most in
stances, to give the whole document, though parts of it have little
or no direct relation to the matters embraced in that resolution.
What is omitted does not relate to any branch of the inquiry, but
chiefly to the plans of the campaign, and contemplated military
movements, which it would not be proper to make public.
You will perceive that I stated, in my letter of the 3d of June
last, to Gen. Kearny, that a proclamation in the Spanish language
would be furnished to him for the purpose of being distributed
among the Mexican people. A few copies of the proclamation
prepared for Gen. Taylor were sent to Gen. Kearny ; but, owing
to the different circumstances in which the two generals might be
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. 63
placed, it was afterwards deemed proper to instruct Gen. Kearny
not to use them, and I am not aware that he did so in any instance.
My letter to him on this subject, dated the 6th of June, is one of
the papers herewith transmitted.
Among the accompanying documents you will find two procla
mations issued by Gen. Kearny, but neither the form nor substance
of them was furnished from this department.
In relation to the annexed paper, No. 24, called the " Organic
Law of the Territory of New Mexico," it is proper that I should
state that it was received at the Adjutant-general's office on the 23d
of November, and thence sent to me. As the document was
voluminous, and my whole time was required for the indispensable
current business of the department, then unusually pressing, and for
preparing my annual report to accompany your message to Con
gress, I did not, at that time, nor until a few days since, examine
it; and it was not laid before you to receive your directions in
regard to it.
I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY.
To the PRESIDENT.
Of the "accompanying papers," it is believed that all of import
ance to our subject are either given herein the narrative, or in
the Appendix, with the exception of the "Organic Law of the Ter
ritory of New Mexico," which is too voluminous for our publica?
tion. And it may be proper to add, that the executive action above
detailed, applies to any " organization of civil government," if such
there be, that may come to be spoken of in this work.
On the 27th, Gen. Kearny issued an order regulating licenses
for stores, &c., duties on wagons, &c. ; and, on the 29th, the "use
of stamped paper, previously required by Mexican law, was abo
On the 1st of September, he writes the Adjutant-general of the
United States : " I am now endeavouring to raise from the inhabit
ants of the territory a company of infantry (volunteers for one
64 GOVERNMENT OF NEW MEXICO.
year). I have appointed a Mexican the captain, and an American
the first lieutenant of it. I think much good will result from it."
About this time rumours reached Santa Fe that Armijo, with Col.
Ugarte, was rallying the south, and advancing on the capital. To
quiet the minds of the people, Gen. Kearny, on the 2d Sep
tember, marched out of Santa Fe with 700 men, principally of
Col. Doniphan's regiment and Major Clark's artillery. Their
route lay for some 100 miles down the Rio Grande, as far as the
village of Tome, but they were met by friendly rather than hostile
On his return, a fortnight from the last date, arrangements were
made for the civil government, and on the 22d Gen. Kearny
writes as follows :
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE WEST,
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sept. 22, 1846.
SIR: I inclose herewith a copy of the laws prepared for the
government of the territory of New Mexico, and a list of appoint
ments to civil offices in the territory both of which I have this
day signed and published.
I take great pleasure in stating that I am entirely indebted
for these laws to Col. A. W. Doniphan, of the 1st regiment of
Missouri mounted volunteers, who received much assistance from
private Willard P. Hall, of his regiment.
These laws are taken, part from the laws of Mexico retained
as in the original a part with such modifications as our laws and
constitution made necessary : a part are from the laws of the
Missouri Territory : a part from the laws of Texas, and also of
Texas and Coahuila ; a part from the statutes of Missouri ; and
the remainder from the Livingston code.
The organic law is taken from the organic law of Missouri Terri
tory. (See act of Congress, June 4th, 1842.)
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
brigadier-general^ U. S. A,
The ADJUTANT-GENERAL, U. S. A., Washington.
[[Received at the War Department, November 23d.]
CIVIL OFFICERS. 65
Appointment, by Gen. Kearny, of civil officers.
Being duly authorized by the President of the United States of
America, I hereby make the following appointments for the go
vernment of New Mexico, a territory of the United States. The
officers thus appointed will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
Charles Bent to be governor.
Donaisano Vigil, to be secretary of the territory.
Richard Dallam, to be marshal.
Francis P. Blair, to be United States district attorney.
Charles Blumner, to be treasurer.
Eugene Leitzendorfer, to be auditor of .public accounts.
Joab Houghton, Antonio Jose Otero, Charles Beaubian, to be
judges of the superior court.
Given at Santa Fe, the capital of the Territory of New Mexico,
this 22d day of September, 1846, and in the 71st year of the
Independence of the United States.
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general, U. S. A.
On the 16th of September, Gen. Kearny had written to the
department, through the Adjutant-general:
"As this territory is now perfectly quiet, I have determined
(knowing the wishes of the Executive) to lea*ve here for Upper
California as soon as possible, and have fixed upon the 25th as the
day of departure. As I am ignorant when to expect Capt.
Allen and his command, I have determined upon taking with me
Major Sumner and the efficient men (about 300) of the First Dra
goons. Orders will be left for Capt. Allen to follow on our trail.
From the most reliable information yet received as to the best
route, we have determined upon marching about 200 miles down
the Del Norte ; then to the Gila; down that river near to its
mouth ; leaving which we cross the Colorado ; and then, keeping
near the Pacific, up to Monterey. This route will carry us not
far from and along the southern boundary of New Mexico and
Upper California ; and we hope to reach the Pacific by the end
of November . No exertions will be wanting on the part of any
66 DISTRIBUTION OF GEN. KEARNY'S FORCE.
one attached to this expedition in insuring to it full and entire
"I have now respectfully to ask, that, in the event of our getting
possession of Upper California- of establishing a civil government
there securing peace, quiet, and order among the inhabitants,
and precluding the possibility of the Mexicans again having con
trol there, I may be permitted to leave there next summer with
the First Dragoons, and march them back to Fort Leavemvorth, on
the Missouri ; and I would respectfully suggest that troops, to
remain in California and Oregon, should be raised expressly for
the purpose say for three years to be discharged at the expira
tion of that time ; each man, from the colonel to the private, receiv
ing a number of acres of land in proportion to his rank. Regi
ments could easily be raised on such terms ; and when discharged,
military colonies would thus be established by them."
Information came of the approach of the Mormons and of the
regiment from Missouri, under Col. Price, and, assuming their
arrival as now certain, Gen. Kearny made the following distri
bution of the forces under his command, in preparation for his long
and arduous march to California.
The squadrons of First United States Dragoons, numbering about
three hundred, with two howitzers, under Major Sumner, were
ordered to prepare for the march on California, to be followed by
Capt. Hudson's company and the Mormon battalion, enlisted
under a promise of being discharged in California. Major Clark's
battalion of artillery, embracing Captains Fischer and Weight-
man's companies, from St. Louis, to remain at Santa Fe, with the
battalion of infantry under Captains Angney and Murphy. The
regiment of Col. Doniphan to be stationed about forty miles
south of Albuquerque, with two of its companies at Tome. Upon
the arrival of Col. Price's regiment, the last-mentioned companies
to be relieved by two companies from that regiment, and Col.
Doniphan to march to Chihuahua and report to Gen. Wool.
Col. Price to station the main body of his regiment at Taos, and
two companies thereof on the frontier, to hold the Indians in
PREPARATIONS FOR LEAVING SANTA FE. 67
The various tribes of savages of New Mexico had been met in
council, and with the Navahoes and Pueblo Indians treaties were
Lieutenants Peck and Abert, of the topographical corps, having
suffered much from sickness, and still too weak to accompany the
California expedition, were ordered to remain, and make surveys
of the country, which they are understood to have done with great
ability, and to published results of which the public may look with
interest. On the 25th September, 1846, all arrangements com
pleted, Gen. Kearny departed on his difficult and dreary journey
of over 1000 miles, a great portion of which was a desert.
68 COMBINATION OF FORCES.
Combination of forces employed in the Conquest of California and New Mexico,
Military and Naval Reinforcement of a Regiment and of a Battalion of
Mounted Volunteers, under Col. Price, to " Army of the West" Mormon
Battalion Nauvoo difficulties and emigrants New York Regiment under
Col. J. D. Stevenson Capt. C. Q. Tompkin's Company of Third Artillery
Orders and instructions Co-operation with the Naval forces Col. Mason
Departures and Arrivals Unexpected Co-operation.
THE combination of forces employed in the conquest of Cali
fornia and New Mexico were of various organization, both military
and naval, and were launched forth, by sea and by land, at different
periods. The points of their distinct embodiment were almost as
many thousand miles apart as were their destined points of con
centration on the soil of Mexico. It will therefore be impossible,
in the circumscribed limits of this work, to follow each detachment
in their separate marches, voyages and exploits. Nor do these
magnificent distances, in connection with events .so recent, admit
of the receipt of that full information requisite to ample and accu
rate detail of much that was well and nobly done.
It will be seen Gen. Kearny had been advised by the Secretary
of War, that 1000 additional volunteers from Missouri would be
sent as a reinforcement, and to augment his disposable force for
California ; and that he was authorized to muster into service a
battalion of Mormon emigrants, but that they had not joined him
when he departed from Santa Fe for that country.
This requisition on Missouri for volunteers was composed of
fourteen companies, amounting in the aggregate to near 1300 men
ten companies formed a regiment, of which Sterling Price was
colonel, D. D. Mitchell, lieutenant-colonel, and Edmonson, ma
jor the four remaining companies constituted a battalion under
command of Col. Willock, all mounted and armed, either with
rifles, carbines or muskets. By the 23d August, 1846, this force
had all taken up their line of march to Santa Fe from Fort Lea-
TROOPS AND EMIGRANTS. 69
venworth. An immense number of wagons with stores and baggage,
with some nine or ten thousand mules and oxen, and teamsters, &c.
in proportion, accompanied these troops on their long and arduous
journey. On the 18th July preceding, an additional requisition
for a regiment of infantry issued on the Governor of Missouri, but
they were not mustered into service from the belief of the Execu
tive of the United States that they would not be needed, and from
the difficulty of passing them over the route at so late a period in
the season with the requisite quantity of supplies, &c. Capt. James
Allen of First Dragoons had enrolled the 500 Mormons, and
formed them into a battalion of infantry, of which he was elected
lieutenant-colonel. They had arrived at a high state of discipline,
when, on 23d August, 1846, in about "a fortnight after their de
parture from Fort Leavenworth, the service lost a most efficient,
estimable, and gallant officer, by his death.
Capt. Philip St. George Cooke, of First Dragoons, was subse
quently placed in command, and, under his orders, the Mormon
battalion, in good condition, marched, after their arrival at Santa
Fe, through the province of Sonora, to La Plagas and San Ber
nardino arrived at the banks of .the Rio San Pedro, and, following
that river to the Gila and Gulf of California, proceeded thence to
the capital of California, where the American flag had waved in
triumph for some time previous.
It may be here appropriate to note, that, simultaneously with
this array of armed bands, hosts of emigrants, each man "good at
the rifle," mingled with the tide of war. " The Nauvoo difficul
ties" is a familiar, perhaps painful subject. The peculiar fanati
cism of these people rendered their residence within the States
incompatible with the habits of their fellow citizens. They almost
in a body men, women and children dared the " Deserts of the
Dead," the savages, and the horrors of a winter in the Rocky
Mountains, to seek a home in California. Others of them sought
its distant western shore by water, and, after a long and tem
pestuous voyage, arrived at Yerba Buena, in the Bay of San
Francisco. Most of these settled on the San Joaquin, and imme
diately busied themselves in putting in crops to sustain their emi-
70 INSTRUCTIONS TO GEN. KEARNY.
grant brethren when they should arrive by the over-land route
the bones of many of whom were then whitening the Sierras and
plains of that route.
Emigrants from Missouri, under ex-Gov. Eoggs of that state,
arrived in comparative safety, but the thrilling accounts of the
sufferings of others are still reaching the east, as well as west.
The want of proper organization and prudent preparation is said
to be much the cause of this. The Mormon chief represents the
country and climate as not having disappointed their expectations,
though much exaggerated.
On the 12th September, 1846, the Secretary of War wrote to
Gen. Kearny, that a volunteer regiment raised in the State of New
York to serve during the war to be discharged wherever they
were at its termination, if in a territory of the United States, was
about to embark from New York for California ; that it was to
be a part of his command ; but, as it might reach its destination
before Gen. Kearny was in a condition to subject it to his orders,
the colonel, J. D. Stevenson, had been furnished with instructions
for his conduct in the mean time. A copy of these, with the in
structions of the Navy Department to the commander of the naval
squadron in the Pacific; a copy of a letter to Gen. Taylor, with a
circular from the Treasury Department ; a copy of a letter from Gen.
Scott to Capt. Tompkins ; and a copy of general regulations rela
tive to the respective rank of naval and army officers, Gen.
Kearny was informed were sent him, and he was directed to look
upon these, "so far as applicable," "in the light of instructions"
Gen. Kearny having left Santa Fe on the 25th, this communica
tion of the Secretary of War did not reach him.
The copy of Gen. Scott's letter, dated 20th June, 1846, to Capt.
Tompkins, would have informed him of First Lieutenant (after
wards Captain) C. Q,. Tompkin's destination with a company of
Third Artillery for California, and of the probable nature of the
service to which he was assigned. A subsequent letter, dated 3d
November, 1846, from Gen. Scott to Gen. Kearny, tells him that
* See Appendix, Nos. 2, 3, and 4, &c.
COL. STEVENSON'S REGIMENT. 71
he will find an engineer officer (Lieut. Halleck) at Monterey, or
the bay of San Francisco, and that the company of artillery, aided
by other troops under his command, " ought promptly to be em
ployed in erecting and garrisoning durable defences for holding
the bays of Monterey and San Francisco, together with such other
important points in the same province as he may deem necessary
That intrenching tools, ordnance and ordnance stores, went
out in the ship Lexington, with Capt. Tompkins, and that further
ordnance supplies might soon be expected.
Col. Stevenson's regiment, (familiarly known as the "California
regiment,") numbered 800 men, with the 'same number of percus
sion muskets, and flint muskets, with 200 rifles, and six pieces
of artillery. They carried out machinery for saw and grist
mills, mechanic's tools, &c. &c. A large number of them were
mechanics, and two of their principal officers belonged to the
Third Artillery ; one to the company commanded by Capt. Tomp
kins. The letter of the Secretary of War to Col. Stevenson,
dated Sept. 11, 1846, informs him that his regiment was destined
to the Pacific, to co-operate with the naval commander in carrying
out his plans, (with a copy of whose instructions Col. Stevenson
was furnished,) so far as the land forces might be needed for that
purpose : he is told, " There are three points deemed to be worthy
of particular attention." These were San Francisco, Monterey,
and San Diego, and that it was " important to have possession of
the bay of San Francisco, and the country in that vicinity." That
"a fortification, such as the means at his command may enable
him to construct, will be erected, and that the heavy guns hereto
fore sent out, and those taken by the transports, to the extent
needed, will be used for its armament," &c. The Secretary of
Wa? adds, " The regiment under your command, as well as the
company of Capt. Tompkins, which has preceded it, is a part of
Gen. Kearny's command ; but it may be that he will not be in a
situation to reach you by his orders, immediately on your debarka
tion. Until that is the case, yours will be an independent com
mand, except when engaged in joint operations with the naval
72 GEN. SCOTT'S LETTER.
force ;" and Col. Stevenson was directed to show his instructions
to the commander of the squadron, and told, " Where a place is
taken by the joint action of the naval and land force, the naval
officer, if superior in rank to yourself, will be entitled to make
arrangements for the civil government of it, while it is held by
the co-operation of both branches of the military force ;" and that
all his powers would, " of course," devolve on Gen. Kearny,
when he arrived, &c.*
Gen. Scott's letter of 3d November, 1846, concluded as fol
" As a guide to the civil governor of Upper California, in our
hands, see the letter of June the 3d (last), addressed to you by the
Secretary of War. You will not, however, formally declare the
province to be annexed. Permanent incorporation of the territory
must depend on the government of the United States.
"After occupying with our forces all necessary points in Upper
California, and establishing a temporary civil government therein,
as well as assuring yourself of its internal tranquillity, and the
absence of any danger of reconquest on the part of Mexico, you
may charge Col. Mason, United States First Dragoons, the bearer
of this open letter, or land officer next in rank to your own, with
your several duties, and return yourself, with a sufficient escort
of troops, to St. Louis, Missouri ; but the body of the United States
Dragoons that accompanied you to California, will remain there
until further orders.
" It is not known what portion of the Missouri Volunteers, if
any, marched with you from Santa Fe to the Pacific. If any, it
is necessary to provide for their return to their homes and honour
able discharge ; and, on the same supposition, they may serve you
as a sufficient escort to Missouri.
"It is known that Lieut. Col. Fremont, of the United States
rifle regiment, was, in July last, with a party of men in the ser
vice of the United States Topographical Engineers, in the neigh
bourhood of San Francisco or Monterey bay, engaged in joint
* See Appendix.
COLS. MASON AND PRICE. 73
operations against Mexico with the United States squadron on that
coast. Should you find him there, it is desired that you do not
detain him, against his wishes, a moment longer than the necessi
ties of the service may require.
" I need scarcely enjoin deference, and the utmost cordiality, on
the part of our land forces towards those of our navy, in the joint
service on the distant coast of California. Reciprocity may be
cordially expected ; and towards that end, frequent conferences
between commanders of the two arms are recommended. Har
mony in co-operation, and success cannot but follow.
" Measures have been taken to supply the disbursing officers,
who have preceded, and who may accompany you, with all neces
sary funds. Of those measures you will be informed by Col.
Col. Mason left Washington city on the 7th of November,
1846, for New York, whence he embarked for Chagres, to cross
the isthmus of Panama, and thus reached Monterey, on the
Col. Price, with the Missouri Volunteers, and their heavy trains,
reached Santa Fe, and relieved Col. Doniphan, who, we have seen,
was awaiting his arrival to commence the " Chihuahua expedi
tion," which proved so glorious.
The company of the Third regiment Artillery embarked at New
York for Monterey, California, July 14th, and the New York regi
ment of Volunteers, for the same destination, embarked the 25th t
of September, 1846, and arrived in due time as designated :
"But, (says the Secretary of War,) before these forces had reached
their destination, and even before their departure from the United
States, the Mexican authority in the whole province of the Cali-
fornias had been subverted."
Of the "series of events which led to the overthrow of the
Mexican power in that extensive country, and its occupation as a
conquest of the United States,"* of the distinguished actors
and, especially, of the unexpected co-operation which " a party of
* Secretary of War.
men in the service of the United States Topographical Engi
neers," under their young and gallant leader, brought, without
" orders" or " instructions," in aid of these results, of Fremont,
Sloat, Stockton, Kearny, Doniphan, Price, &c., we have, in other
chapters, much to tell " reflecting the highest credit alike upon
officers and soldiers, who participated in these memorable ac
COL. DONIPHAN. 75
Colonel Doniphan Missouri Volunteers Command at Santa F Orders
Campaign in the Navaho country March on Chihuahua Route Battle of
Brazito El Paso Major Clark's artillery Capt. Weightman Battle of
Sacramento Occupation of the City of Chihuahua American Traders A
Lady Orders from Gen. Wool Capt. Reid's gallant action with Indians
Capital of Durango Route to Saltillo Gen. Wool Gen. Taylor and Tro
phies Arrival at New Orleans Arrival at St. Louis Enthusiastic Recep
tion Senator Benton's Speech Colonel Doniphan's reply and adieu to his
companions in arms.
THE march of the Missouri volunteers under Col. A. W. Doni
phan the citizen commander of citizen soldiers down the valley
of the Rio Grande, through New Mexico, and the states of Chi
huahua, Durango, New Leon and Tamaulipas passing over many
a dreary desert and through deep snows, penetrating a thickly
settled country of the enemy where they were cut off from all
supplies unless drawn from the theatre of action, and entirely from all
reinforcements, yet still fearlessly marching on against every obstacle,
until they met the enemy and overcame him in two pitched battles,
and with flying colours entered Chihuahua, his largest town in the
north, and there established their order and law comprises achieve
ments worthy of no stinted applause. The more, when this bold
and fearless band are found thus, full two thousand miles from
their homes without pay almost naked, and destitute of nearly
all the absolute necessaries of life, resuming their weary march,
and pressing to the relief of their brethren in arms, who, they
hear, are nine hundred miles off, surrounded by the enemy and in
To these displays of courage and of fortitude no commendation
can be applied more appropriate than through the eloquent words
addressed to these Missouri volunteers, at St. Louis, on their return
to their homes, by Senator Benton whose language is here quoted
entire, as not only justly eulogizing their exploits, but as giving a
76 MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS.
historical summary of transactions, to which some few details are
alone necessary to be first added for our purposes here.
It will have been seen in a preceding chapter, that Col. Doniphan's
regiment had been mustered into service, at Fort Leavenworth, on
the 6th June, 1846 that, as part of the "Army of the West," it had
marched victoriously into Santa Fe, on the 18th of August, and that,
on the departure of Gen. Kearny for California, 25th September, his
orders were, for Col. Doniphan, on the arrival of Col. Price at Santa
Fe, to march his regiment to Chihuahua and report to General Wool.*
Previous, however, to General Kearny's departure from Santa Fe,
he ordered Col. Doniphan to make a campaign against the Navaho
Indians, which was accomplished in the dead of winter, without
supplies, tents, &c. The district of country inhabited by this tribe
lies in the Rocky Mountains, and partly on the Pacific slope, and
was invaded by several detachments of troops, headed respectively
by Major Gilpin, Capt. Reid, Lieut. Col. Jackson, and Col. Doni
phan in person. He succeeded in forming a treaty with these
troublesome Indians, represented as more warlike than the New
Mexicans, to whom they were a great source of dread and injury,
on the 22d of November, 1846.
On the 17th of December, Col. Doniphan, with his regiment,
and Lieut. Col. D. D. Mitchell's escort, composed of 100 picked
men from the army at Santa Fe, commenced the march from Val-
verde against the state of Chihuahua. Col. Price was left at
Santa Fe, in command of his own regiment, Lieut. Col. Willock's
battalion, Major Clark's artillery, and Capt. Angney's battalion of
infantry, all Missourians. Col. Doniphan's whole force numbered
Their march lay along the Rio Grande to Fra Christobal, and
from thence they had proceeded down to within about twenty-five
miles of the Paso de Norte, when, at Brazito, the first battle of the
"Army of the West" occurred. This, however, is all so well
told by Lieut. C. H. Kribben, of the Missouri Light Artillery,
universally represented as a gallant officer, and highly intelligent
gentleman, that his letter is here cheerfully adopted, in the absence
* See Appendix, No. 5.
BATTLE 0%BRAZITO. 77
of any official account, as giving- a correct and accurate narrative
of the Battle of Brazito, on 25th December, 1846.
DETACHMENT OF Mo. LIGHT ARTILLERY,
Camp below Brazito, Rio Grande, Dec. 26, 1846.
DEAR SIR : I can only write to you a few lines, being on the
point of breaking up camp. One detachment at Fra Cristobal
overtook Col. Doniphan's command. Major Gilpin, with 250
men, had previously left for El Paso, and Col. Jackson was fol
lowing him with 200 men. Col. Doniphan had but 150 men
with him, the remainder of his regiment being sick, attending on
the sick, and scattered about the country. From Fra Cristobal
one detachment marched with Col. Doniphan south, when, at the
Laguna of the Jornada del Muerto, news reached us through an
express 'sent by Major Gilpin, that the Mexicans had determined
to resist at the El Paso, and had collected a considerable number
of troops, intending to give us battle. An express had been sent
to Santa Fe for part of the artillery under Major Clark, but no
news had, as yet, reached us from there, so that the detachment
of thirty men from the three companies of our corps are all that
are here from the battalion. At the southern end of the Jornada,
ten miles north of Donaha, the traders had encamped. Contra
dictory rumors of the enemy's approach reached us daily. Yester
day, (Christmas day,) when we had just arrived in camp here,
with about five hundred men, had unsaddled our animals, and most
of the men were engaged in carrying, wood and water, the news
was brought into camp of the enemy's being in sight and advancing.
It was about 2 o'clock, p. M., and the day was very pleasant. Our
horses grazing some distance from camp at the time, we formed
a single line, and determined to meet the enemy as infantry. Their
attack being evidently designed on the left flank, near which was
our wagon train, one detachment was ordered from the extreme
right to the left, where we soon took up our position. One piece
of artillery, 500 regular lancers and cavalry, and one hundred
regular infantry, besides some five hundred militia troops from El
Paso, composed the enemy's force, according to the best informa-
78 BATTLE OF BRAZITO.
tion I can obtain. The enemy ranged themselves on the east,
within half a mile of our line, the mountains in their rear. In
our rear was the river, with a little brushwood on its banks.
Previous to the encounter, a lieutenant from their ranks came
forward, waving a black flag in his hand, but halted when within a
hundred steps of our line. Thomas Caldwell, our interpreter, rode
out to meet him. The messenger, with the black flag of defiance,
demanded that the commander should come into their camp and
speak to their general. The reply was, "If your general wants
to see our commander, let him come here." " We shall break
your ranks, then, and take him there ;" was the retort of the
Mexican. "Come and take him," said our interpreter; unwit
tingly using the phrase of the Spartan at Thermopylae. "A
curse on you, prepare for a charge," cried the Mexican. " We
give no quarter and ask none," and, waving his black flag gracefully
over his head, galloped back towards the enemy's line. Their
charge was made by the dragoons from the right, directed upon
our left flank, bringing one detachment into the closest fire their
infantry, with one howitzer with them, at the same time attacking
our right flank.
Their charge was a handsome one, but was too well and too
coolly met to break our line. After their fire had been spent,
their front column being at about a hundred steps from the front of
our flank, our line poured a volley into them, which being a few
times repeated, created such a havoc in their columns, that their
forces wheeled to the left, retreating from our fire, and, in their
flight, made an attack on the provision train. Here they met a
very warm reception, and were soon compelled to fly in all direc
tions, and in the utmost confusion. Their infantry had been put
to flight even before, and the Howard county company, under
the command of Lieut. N. Wright, taking advantage of their posi
tion, on the route of the enemy, charged upon them and took
their cannon from them : this was soon manned by the artillery
detachment in Col. Mitchell's escort. The enemy had by this
time fled, leaving their arms, provisions, and other stores on the
field of battle.
BATTLE OF BRAZITO. 79
^N^^^N^^^^^^^^^^N^^rv^^^VV^V. ^^^s^ rf ^-*^^N rf ^.^w^^--^ fc A^^^SA^^^
A small body of mounted men under the command of Capt.
Reid had by this time gathered together in a line and charged
upon the enemy, pursuing them into the mountains where they
The number of their dead is said to be thirty that of their
wounded was slight, as far as ascertained.
We lost not a single man, and had but seven slightly wounded ;
we took eight prisoners, six of whom died last night. Thus
ended the battle of the Brazito, the first battle of the army of the
west, and as bravely fought by our men as ever men fought at any
We have every reason to believe that there is more in store
for us. C. H. KRIBBEN.
One piece of cannon was taken, and, opportunely, such store
of provisions, bread and wine, as enabled the victors to spend a
merry Christmas night.
El Paso, near which the battle took place, is a town in Chihua
hua of some 3000 inhabitants, and is on the high road from New
Mexico to the city of Chihuahua, distant nearly 300 miles.
Twelve miles north of the town, the road narrows so as to form a
pass, which a few determined men might successfully defend
against any large force. But it appears the Mexicans were so
dispirited after their defeat, that they made no effort to retain pos
session of the pass, but retreated over 100 miles north. The
town of El Paso was thus occupied on the 27th of December,
without a struggle.
Here Col. Doniphan was reinforced by Major M. L. Clark's
artillery. The march by which this small force joined the main
column, is so entirely characteristic of the endurance and indo
mitable energy of this portion of the "Army of the West," that
a condensed account less than the merit of the act is hero
attempted to be given. An express reached Major Clark, at Santa
Fe, requesting him to come, if possible ; but at all events, to send
Capt. Richard H. Weightman, with the battery, and thirty or
forty men, if no more could be spared.
80 CAPT. WEIGHTMAN'S MARCH.
Major Clark promptly ordered Capt. Weightman to take sixty-
five men of his company being all that were able to endure the
fatigues of a forced march of 350 miles, in the dead of winter
together with forty-five Lacled Rangers to man his battery of six
pieces, and to proceed forthwith to join Col. Doniphan. Major
Clark and his staff set out a few days after Capt. Weightman and
his command, who had departed on the 10th of January. Major
Clark overtook the command near Tome, and, passing them,
arrived at El Paso about the 25th. Here he found that a night
attack was expected from the Mexicans, and sent expresses, with
twenty-eight fresh mules, and orders for Capt. Weightman to push
on with all speed, as it was believed the Mexicans would attack
on the night of the 31st of January.
Capt. Weightman had started from San Diego, a point of the
Rio Grande, on the southern extremity of the Jornada del Muerto
a desert of ninety-three miles in extent, when, after proceeding about
eight miles, he was met by the express. Replacing his most ex
hausted mules by those sent him, he proceeded rapidly to Dona
Ana, twenty-two miles from San Diego, and there informed his
command of the prospect before them, and of his intention to leave,
at that place, all baggage whatever tents, cooking utensils, &c.,
every thing, except their arms, ammunition, and such provisions
as each man could carry ready cooked, and to march as fast as
the mules would endure, until they reached El Paso. By 12
o'clock at night, the food prepared and the mules fed, they pushed
forward with all speed until, at one o'clock on the night of the
31st, they reached El Paso, making the distance from San Diego,
eighty or ninety miles, in thirty-eight consecutive hours.
This command was met four miles from El Paso by their gal
lant and noble-hearted comrades, Capt. John W. Reid, and Lieut.
John Hinton, escorting a wagon load of supper, and a barrel of
wine, to comfort these weary victims of a false alarm. So cold
was the weather at this time, that, while marching by night
through the Jornada del Muerto, and on the nights of the 30th
and 31st, it was found necessary to make fires every four or five
miles, at which a few men at a time, and by turns, warmed them-
BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO. 81
selves, hastening up afterwards to overtake the battery, which
constantly moved on. On this march from Santa Fe to El Paso,
the Rio Grande was forded three times by the artillery. On one
occasion, the river being frozen over, except near the middle, down
which masses of floating ice were being whirled, the guns, cais
sons, &c., were in imminent danger from the ice, but more from
quicksands. It became instantly necessary to order a large detail
into the deep and struggling, waters to extricate the artillery. The
orderlies produced their books, and were about to name the men
subject to this duty, when they all cried out, " No -no we are
volunteers," and instantly rushed to the hard duty.
Capt. Weightman's command had the high gratification of re
ceiving from Col. Doniphan, Major Clark, and their comrades, well
merited compliments for the spirited march of -the 30th and 31st.
* Col. Doniphan, thus reinforced by Major Clark's artillery, com
menced his march upon the city of Chihuahua, on the 8th of
February, 1847, and, on the 28th of that month, fought the Battle
of Sacramento, of which, and of the occupation of Chihuahua,
the following is Col. Doniphan's report :
Battle of Sacramento ^Capture of Chihuahua.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY IN CHIHUAHUA,
.City of Chihuahua, March 4, 1847.
I have the honour to report to you the movements of the army
under my command, since my last official report.
On the evening of the 8th of February, 1847, we left the town
of El Paso del Norte, escorting the merchant train or caravan of
about 315 wagons /or the city of Chihuahua. Our force consisted
of 924 effective men ; 117 officers and privates of the Artillery;
93 of Lieut. Col. Mitchell's escort, and the remainder the First
regiment Missouri mounted Volunteers. We progressed in the
direction of this place until the 25th, when we were informed by
our spies that the enemy, to the number of 1500 men, were at
Inseneas, the country-seat of Gov. Trias, about twenty-five miles
When we arrived, on the evening of the 26th, near that point,
we found that the force had retreated in the direction of that city.
82 BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO.
On the evening of the 27th, we arrived at Sans, and Jearned from
our spies that the enemy, in great force, had fortified the pass of
the Sacramento river, about fifteen miles in advance, and about the
same distance from this city. We were also informed that there
was no water between the point we were at, and that occupied by
the enemy ; we therefore determined to halt until morning. At
sunrise on the 28th, the last day of February, we took up the line of
march and formed the whole train, consisting of 315 heavy traders'
wagons and our commissary and company wagons, into four co
lumns, thus shortening our line so as to make it more easily pro
tected. We placed the artillery and all the command, except 200
cavalry proper, in the intervals between the columns of wagons.
We thus fully concealed our force and its position, by masking our
force with the cavalry. When we arrived within three miles of
the enemy, we made a reconnoissance of his position and the ar
rangement of his forces. This we could easily do the road lead
ing through an open prairie valley, between the sterile mountains.
The pass of the Sacramento is formed by a point of the mountains
on our right, their left extending into the valley or plain, so as to
narrow the valley to about one and a half miles. On our left was
a deep dry sandy channel of a creek, and between these points
the plain rises to sixty feet abruptly. This rise is in the form of
a crescent, the convex part being to the north of our forces. On
the right, from the point of mountains, a narrow part of the plain ex
tends north one and a half miles further than on the left. The main
road passes down the centre of the valley and across the crescent,
near the left or dry branch. The Sacramento rises in the moun
tains on the right, and the road falls on to it about one mile below
the battle-field or intrenchment of the enemy. We ascertained
that the enemy had one battery of four guns, two nine and six-
pounders, on the point of the mountain, (their left,) at a good ele
vation to sweep the plain, and at the point where the mountain
extended farthest into the plain. On our left (their right) they
had another battery, on an elevation commanding the road, and
three intrenchments of two six-pounders, and on the brow of the
crescent near the centre, another of two six and two four and six
BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO. 83
culverins, or rampart pieces, mounted on carriages ; and on the
crest of the hill or ascent between the batteries, and the right and
left, they had twenty-seven redoubts dug and thrown up, extend
ing at short intervals across the whole ground. In these their in
fantry were placed, and were entirely protected. Their cavalry
was drawn up in front of the redoubts, four deep, and in rear of
the redoubts two deep, so as to mask them as far as practicable.
When we had arrived within 1 miles of the intrenchments
along the main road, we advanced the cavalry still further, and
suddenly diverged with the columns to the right, so as to gain the
narrow part of the ascent on our right, which the enemy discover
ing endeavoured to prevent by moving forward with 1000 cavalry
and four pieces of cannon in their rear, masked by them. Our
movements were so rapid that we gained the elevation with our
forces and the advance of our wagons in time to form before they
arrived within reach of our guns. The enemy halted, and we
advanced the head of our column within 1200 yards of them, so as
to let our wagons attain the high lands and form as before.
We now commenced the action by a brisk fire from our bat
tery, and the enemy unmasked and commenced also ; our fires
proved effective at this distance, killing fifteen men, wounding and
disabling one of the enemy's guns. We had two men slightly
wounded, and several horses and mules killed. The enemy then
slowly retreated behind their works in some confusion, and we
resumed our march in our former order, still diverging more to
the right to avoid their battery on our left, (their right,) and their
strongest redoubts, which were on the left near where the road
passes. After marching as far as we safely could, without coming
within range of their heavy battery on our right, Capt. Weight-
man, of the artillery, was ordered to charge with the two 12-pound
howitzers, to be supported by the cavalry, under Capts. Reid,
Parsons, and Hudson. The howitzers charged at speed, and were
gallantly sustained by Capt. Reid ; but by some misunderstanding,
my order was not given to the other two companies. Capt. Hud
son, anticipating my order, charged in time to give ample support
to the howitzers. Capt. Parsons, at the same moment, came to
84 BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO.
me and asked permission for his company to charge the redoubts
immediately to the left of Capt. Weightman, which he did very
The remainder of the two battalions of the First Regiment
were dismounted during the cavalry charge, and following rapidly
on foot, and Maj. Clark advancing as fast as practicable with the
remainder of the battery, we charged their redoubts from right to
left, with a brisk and deadly fire of riflemen, while Maj. Clark
opened a rapid and well-directed fire on a column of cavalry
attempting to pass to our left so as to attack the wagons and our
rear. The fire was so well directed as to force them to fall back ;
and our riflemen, with their cavalry and howitzers, cleared it after
an obstinate resistance. Our forces advanced to the very brink
of their redoubts, and attacked them with their sabres. When the
redoubts were cleared, and the batteries in the centre and our left
were silenced, the main battery on our right still continued to pour
in a constant and heavy fire, as it had done during the heat of the
engagement ; but as the whole fate of the battle depended upon
carrying the redoubts and centre 'battery, this one on the right re
mained unattacked, and the enemy had rallied there five hundred
Maj. Clark was directed to commence a heavy fire upon it,
while Lieuts. Col. Mitchell and Jackson, commanding the First
Battalion, were ordered to remount and charge the battery on the
left, while Maj. Gilpin was directed to pass the Second Battalion
on foot up the rough ascent of the mountain on the opposite side.
The fire of our battery was so effective as to completely silence
theirs, and the rapid advance of our column put them to flight over
the mountains in great confusion.
Capt. Thompson, of the First Dragoons, acted as my aid and
adviser on the field during the whole engagement, and was of the
most essential service to me. Also, Lieut. Wooster, of the United
States army, who acted very coolly and gallantly. Maj. Camp
bell, of Springfield, Missouri, also acted as a volunteer aid during
part of the time, but left me and joined Capt. Reid in his gallant
charge. Thus ended the battle of Sacramento. The force of the
BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO. 85
enemy was 1200 cavalry from Durango and Chihuahua, 300
artillerists, and 1420 rancheros, badly armed with lassos, lances,
and machetoes, or corn-knives, ten pieces of artillery, two nine,
two eight, four six, and two four-pounders, and six culverins, or
rampart pieces. Their forces were commanded by Major-general
Heredia, general of Durango, Chihuahua, Sonora, and New
Mexico. Brigadier-general Justimani, Brigadier-general Garcia
Conde, formerly minister of war for the republic of Mexico, who is
a scientific man, planned this whole field of defence ; Gen.
Uguarte, and Gov. Trias, who acted as brigadier-generals on the
field, and colonels and other officers without number.
Our force was 924 effective men ; at least one hundred of
whom were engaged in holding horses and driving teams.
The loss of the enemy was his entire artillery, ten wagons,
masses of beans and pinola, and other Mexican provisions, about
three hundred killed, and about the same number wounded, many
of whom have since died, and forty prisoners.
The field was literally covered with the dead and wounded
from our artillery and the unerring fire of our riflemen. Night
put a stop to the carnage, the battle having commenced about three
o'clock. Our loss was one killed, one mortally wounded, and
seven so wounded as to recover without any loss of limbs. I can
not speak too highly of the coolness, gallantry, and bravery of the
officers and men under my command.
I was ably sustained by the field-officers, Lieutenant-colonels
Mitchell and Jackson, of the First Battalion, and Maj. Gilpin, of
the Second Battalion ; and Maj. Clark and his artillery acted
nobly, and did the most effective service in every part of the field.
It is abundantly shown, in the charge made by Capt. Weightman
with the section of howitzers, that they can be used in any charge
of calvary with great effect. Much has been said, and justly said,
of the gallantry of our artillery, unlimbering within 250 yards of
the enemy at Palo Alto ; but how much more daring was the
charge of Capt. Weightman, when he unlimbered within fifty
yards of the redoubts of the enemy.
On the 1st day of March, we took formal possession of the capi-
86 BRAVERY OF A LADY.
tal of Chihuahua, in the name of our government. We were
ordered by Gen. Kearny to report to Gen. Wool at this place :
since our arrival we hear he is at Saltillo, surrounded by the
enemy. Our present purpose is either to force our way to him,
or return by Bexar, as our term of service expires on the last of
I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,
A. W. DONIPHAN,
Col. First Regiment Missouri Volunteers.
Brigadier-general R. JONES, Adjutant-general, U. S. A.
The American flag was thus planted on the walls of Chihua
hua. Here Col. Doniphan remained about three weeks, resting
his tired forces made an excursion to disperse an assemblage at
Parral, organized as a kind of temporary government, &c., and
stipulated with the authorities for safety to the persons and pro
perty of the United States traders, and threatening to return with
vengeance if infracted.
Many of these traders were gentlemen of wealth, intelligence,
and enterprise, and had large capitals, as well as their lives, at
issue in the observance of this treaty, when Col. Doniphan should
Among this class was Mr. Magoffin of 'Missouri, who had very
recently borne a young, rich, and lovely bride, of the noblest
blood of Kentucky, to this mart of his commerce. Perhaps he
feared to trust her safety to the slightest chance of danger, or that
he dreaded insult or inconvenience to her, and, therefore per
suaded her to avoid the possibility of either. She, the grand
daughter of Shelby, as also the grand-daughter, on the maternal
side, of Hart, had it not in her nature to know fear, and would
not that her husband should thus act against his interests from any
anxiety on her account. Mr. Magoffin, however, determined to
take advantage of the march of the troops, and to withdraw his
dauntless lady and property from this danger, which in reality
was imminent and great. Through all the alarms of the camp
the toils of the march, and the privations of the army, this
CAPT. REID'S FIGHT WITH THE INDIANS. 87
lady was found cheerful, and the charms of the social circle of
the encampment in hours of ease, and of danger, brave as the
bravest. Nor was her courage untried, for it happened that her
carriage, getting off the line of march of the army, and under a
small escort which had lagged behind, was suddenly ridden up to
by a squad of guerillas, whose further proceedings were instantly
and timely stopped by the sight of a pair of pistols presented at
them by a lovely woman, and by the shouts of her escort rapidly
galloping up to her rescue. Such was the intrepidity of a lady
in the Chihuahua column of the "Army of the West."
Col. Doniphan, on the 23d of April, received orders from.
Gen. Wool to march his command forthwith to Saltillo. On the
25th, he directed his course thither, taking, in his way, the towns
of San Pablo, Santa Cruz, Soucillo, Santa Rosalia, and Guagu-
quilla in the state of Chihuahua.
"While Col. Doniphan's column was on its march from Chi
huahua to Saltillo, a small advance party, under Capt. Reid, of
about thirty rank and file, arrived at El Paso, (twenty-five miles
above Parras,) very early on the morning of the 13th of May.
About 9 o'clock, A. M., a party of Indians were seen emerging
from a gap of the mountains, distant about five miles, and making
direct for the ranch o. Our troops went out at full gallop nearly
half a mile to meet them. When within thirty or forty steps of each
other, the Indians discharged a few arrows, when the Americans
fired their entire volley at them. Immediately, the Indians raised
the yell and rushed in on them, discharging their arrows with asto
nishing rapidity. Our men were forced to retreat about 100
yards to load, when they, in their-turn, charged the enemy and
forced him to retreat. Thus alternately did they charge, keeping
up the contest for two hours with much spirit, our troops gaining
inch by inch of the ground by dint of hard fighting, while the
Indians held it with much tenacity, and yielding it only with their
lives. The Indians numbered between fifty and sixty, and their
superior horsemanship gave them much advantage ; notwith
standing which, they were forced to fall back before the noble
daring of Capt. Reid and his little band.
88 RETURN TO ST. LOUIS.
"Capt. Reid, who was ably assisted by Lieutenants Gordon,
Sproule, and Winston, was the only American wounded. He had
the satisfaction of driving the Indians entirely off the ground, car
rying with them all their wounded and some dead, yet leaving
fifteen on the field. Nine Mexican prisoners were taken from
them and restored to liberty, and about 1000 head of horses and
mules, which, as far as practicable, were returned to the Mexicans
from whom they had been taken.
"Captain Reid had the gratification of receiving an official docu
ment from the citizens of Parras, through the prefect of the city,
expressive of their admiration and gratitude for his noble conduct,
and sympathy for his wounds."
Such is an excellent account of one of the many very gallant
achievements of Capt. Reid.
Upon Col. Doniphan's approach to the confines of Durango,
Governor Ochoa prepared to surrender the capital without a
struggle, for the army had already fled or dispersed ; but Coi.
Doniphan's route lay further to the north, through the cities of
Mapimi, San Sabastian, San Lorenzo, and in the state of Coahuila,
through Parras, Castannella, the Hacienda de Patos, and thence,
by Encantada, to Saltillo, where he reported to Gen. Wool, on the
2'2d of May, and to Gen. Taylor at Monterey, on the 27th of May,
and thence to Matamoras, a distance of 900 miles from Chihua
hua, they marched in forty-five days, carrying with them seventeen
pieces of artillery, as trophies, which Gen. Taylor permitted them
to bring home, in consideration, as assigned in the "Order," of
their gallantry and noble bearing. About the 16th of June, they
arrived at New Orleans, thence they sped their way to St. Louis,
and home. There a most cordial and hearty welcome greeted
them, on the 2d of July, 1847, after their twelve months' arduous
Their reception was enthusiastic beyond description. The whole
city turned out to bid welcome to the band who had achieved so
much honour for their state. Flags were flung to the breeze, and
the bells rung a merry peal of joy. Judge Bowlin, on the part of
the citizens, bade them welcome. A banquet was spread before
COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS. 89
them, and Col. Benton, United States senator from Missouri, ad
dressed the volunteers and the immense crowd of citizens, as fol
" COL. DONIPHAN, AND OFFICERS AND MEN : I have been ap
pointed to an honourable and a pleasant duty that of making you
the congratulations of your fellow-citizens of St. Louis, on your
happy return from your long and almost fabulous expedition.
You have indeed marched far, and done much, and suffered
much, and well entitled yourselves to the applauses of your fel
low-citizens, as well as the rewards and thanks of your govern
ment. A year ago you left home. Going out from the western
border of your state, you re-enter it on the east, having made a
circuit equal to a fourth of a circumference of the globe, provid
ing for yourselves as you went, and returning with trophies taken
from fields, the names of which were unknown to yourselves and
your country, until revealed by your enterprise, illustrated by
your valour, and immortalized by your deeds. History has but
few such expeditions to record ; and when they occur, it is as
honourable and useful as it is just and wise to celebrate and com
memorate the events which entitle them to renown.
" Your march and exploits have been among the most wonderful
of the age. At the call of your country you marched a thousand
miles to the conquest of New Mexico, as part of the force under
Geri. Kearny, and achieved that conquest, without the loss of a
man, or the fire of a gun. That work finished, and New Mexico,
itself so distant, and so lately the Ultima Thule the outside bound
ary of speculation and enterprise so lately a distant point to be
attained, becomes itself a point of departure a beginning point
for new and far more extended expeditions. You look across the
long and lofty chain the Cordilleras of North America which
divide the Atlantic from the Pacific waters ; and you see beyond
that ridge a savage tribe which had been long in the habit of de
predating upon the province which had just become an American
conquest. You, a part only of the subsequent Chihuahua column
under Jackson and Gilpin, inarch upon them bring them to
terms and they sign a treaty with Col. Doniphan, in which they
90 COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS.
bind themselves to cease their depredations on the Mexicans, and
to become the friends of the United States. A novel treaty, that !
signed on the western confines of New Mexico, between parties
who had hardly ever heard each other's names before, and to give
peace and protection to Mexicans, who were hostile to both. This
was the meeting, and this the parting of the Missouri volunteers,
with the numerous and savage tribe of the Navaho Indians, living
on the waters of the Gulf of California, and so long the terror and
scourge of Sonora, Sinaloa, and New Mexico.
"This object accomplished, and impatient of inactivity, and with
out orders, ^Gen. Kearny having departed for California,) you cast
about to carve out some new work for yourselves-. Chihuahua, a
rich and populous city of near 30,000 souls, the seat of government
of the State of that name, and formerly the residence of the cap
tains-general of the internal provinces, under the vice-regal govern
ment of New Spain, was the captivating object which fixed your
attention. It was a far-distant city about as far from St. Louis as
Moscow is from Paris ; and towns and enemies, and a large river,
and defiles and mountains, and the desert, whose ominous name
portending death to travellers el Jornada de los muertos the
journey of the dead all lay between you. It was a perilous
enterprise, and a discouraging one, for a thousand men, badly
equipped, to contemplate. No matter. Danger and hardship lent
it a charm : the adventurous march was resolved on, and the exe
cution commenced. First, the ominous desert was passed, its
character vindicating its title to its mournful appellation an arid
plain of ninety miles, strewed with the bones of animals perished
of hunger and thirst little hillocks of stone, and the solitary cross,
erected by pious hands, marking the spot where some Christian
had fallen, victim of the savage, of the robber, or of the desert
itself no water no animal life no sign of habitation. There
the Texan prisoners, driven by the cruel Salazar, had met their
direst sufferings, unrelieved, as in other parts of their march in the
settled parts of the country, by the compassionate ministrations (for
where is it that woman is not compassionate?) of the pitying
women. The desert was passed, and the place for crossing the
COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS. 91
river approached. A little arm of the river, Bracito, (in Spanish,)
made out from its side. There the enemy in superior numbers,
and confident in cavalry and artillery, undertook to bar the way.
Vain pretension ! Their discovery, atta-ck, and -rout, were about
simultaneous operations. A few minutes did the work ! And in
this way our Missouri volunteers of the Chihuahua column spent
their Christmas day of the year 184G.
" The victory of the Bracito opened the way to the crossing of
the river Del Norte, and to admission into the beautiful little town
of the Paso del Norte, where a neat cultivation, a comfortable peo
ple, fields, orchards, and vineyards, and a hospitable reception,
offered the rest and refreshment which toils, and dangers, and vic
tory had won. You rested there till artillery was brought down
from Santa Fe ; but the pretty town of the Paso del Norte, with
all its enjoyments, and they were many, and the greater for the
place in which they were found, was not a Capau to the men of
Missouri. It did not detain, and enervate them. You moved for
ward in February, and the battle of the Sacramento, one of the
military marvels of the age, cleared the road to Chihuahua, which
was entered without further resistance. It had been entered once
before by a detachment of American troops; but under circum
stances how different ! In the year 1807, Lieut. Pike and his
thirty brave men, taken prisoners on the head of the Rio del Norte,
had been marched captives into Chihuahua; in the year 1847,
Doniphan and his men entered it as conquerors. The paltry tri
umph of a captain-general over a lieutenant, was effaced in a
triumphal entrance of a thousand Missourians into the grand and
ancient capital of all the INTERNAL PROVINCES ! and old men still
alive, could remark the grandeur of the American spirit under
both events the proud and lofty bearing of the captive thirty
the mildness and moderation of the conquering thousand.
"Chihuahua was taken, and responsible duties, .more delicate
than those of arms, were to be performed. Many American citi
zens were there, engaged in trade ; much American property was
there. All this was to be protected, both lives and property, and
by peaceful arrangement ; for the command was too small to admit
92 COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS.
of division, and of leaving a garrison. Conciliation and negotia
tion were resorted to, and successfully. Every American interest
was provided for, and placed under the safeguard, first, of good
will, and next, of guarantees not to be violated with impunity.
" Chihuahua gained, it became, like Santa Fe, not the termi
nating point of a long expedition, but the beginning point of a new
one. Gen. Taylor was somewhere no one knew exactly where
but some seven or eight hundred miles towards the other side of
Mexico. You had heard that he had been defeated that Buena
Vista had not been a good prospect to him. Like good Americans,
you did not believe a word of it ; but, like good soldiers, you
thought it best to go and see. A volunteer party of fourteen,
headed by Collins, of Boonville, undertake to penetrate to Saltillo,
and to bring you information of his condition.. They set out.
Amidst innumerable dangers they accomplish their purpose ; and
return. You march. A vanguard of 100 men, led by Lieut. Col.
Mitchell, led the way. Then came the main body, (if the name
is not a burlesque on such a handful,] commanded by Col. Doni-
"The whole table-land of Mexico, in all its breadth, from west to
east, was to be traversed. A numerous and hostile population in
towns treacherous Cumanches in the mountains were to be
passed. Every thing was to be self-provided provisions, trans
portation, fresh horses for remounts, and even the means of vic
tory and all without a military chest, or even an empty box, in
which government gold had ever reposed. All was accomplished.
Mexican towns were passed, in order and quiet ; plundering Cu
manches were punished ; means were obtained from traders to
liquidate indispensable contributions ; and the wants that could not
be supplied were endured like soldiers of veteran service.
" I say the Cumanches were punished. And here presents an
episode of a novel, extraordinary, and romantic kind Americans
chastising savages for plundering people who they themselves came
to conquer, and forcing the restitution of captives and plundered
property. A strange story this to tell in Europe, where backwoods
character, western character, is not yet completely known. But to
COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS. 93
the facts. In the mosquit forest of the Bolson de Mapimi, and in
the sierras around the beautiful town and fertile district of Parras,
and in all the open country for hundreds of miles round about, the
savage Cumanches have held dominion ever since the usurper
Santa Anna disarmed the people ; and sally forth from their fast
nesses to slaughter men, plunder cattle, and carry off women and chil
dren. An exploit of this kind had just been performed on the line
of the Missourians' march, not far from Parras, and an advanced
party chanced to be in that town at the time the news of the
depredation arrived there. It was only fifteen strong. Moved by
gratitude for the kind attentions of the people, especially the
women, to the sick of Gen. Wool's command, necessarily left in
Parras, and unwilling to be outdone by enemies in generosity, the
heroic fifteen, upon the spot, volunteered to go back thirty miles,
hunt out the depredators and punish them, without regard to num
bers. A grateful Mexican became their guide. On their way,
they fell in with fifteen more of their comrades ; and, in a short
time, seventeen Cumanches killed out of sixty-five, eighteen cap
tives restored to their families, and three hundred and fifty head of
cattle recovered for their owners, was the fruit of this sudden and
" Such noble conduct was not without its effect on the minds of
the astonished Mexicans. An official document from the prefect of
the place to Capt. Reid, leader of this detachment, attests the verity
of the fact, and the gratitude of the Mexicans ; and constitutes a
trophy of a new kind in the annals of war. Here it is in the
original Spanish, and I will read it off in English.
"It is officially dated from the Prefecture of the Department of
Parras, signed by the prefect, Jose Ignacio Arrabe, and addressed
to Capt. Reid, the 18th of May, and says :
" 'At the first notice that the barbarians, after killing many, and
taking captives, were returning to thefr haunts, you generously
and bravely offered, with fifteen of your subordinates, to fight
them on their crossing by the pass of the Pozo, executing this
enterprise with celerity, address and bravery worthy of all eulogy,
and worthy of the brilliant issue which all celebrate. You re-
94 COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS.
covered many animals and much plundered property, and eighteen
captives were restored to liberty and to social enjoyments, their
souls overflowing with a lively sentiment of joy and gratitude,
which all the inhabitants of this town equally breathe, in favour
of their generous deliverers and their valiant chief. The half of
the Indians killed in the combat, and those which fly wounded, do
not calm the pain which all feel for the wound which your excel
lency received defending Christians and civilized beings against the
rage and brutality of savages. All desire the speedy re-establish-
rnent of your health ; and although they know that in your own
noble soul will be found the best reward of your conduct, they
desire also to address you the expression of their gratitude and
high esteem. I am honoured in being the organ of public senti
ment, and pray you to accept it, with the assurance of my most
" * God and Liberty !'
"This is a trophy of a new kind in war, won by thirty Missou-
rians, and worthy to be held up to the admiration of Christendom.
"The long march from Chihuahua to Monterey, was made
more in the character of protection and deliverance than of con
quest and invasion. Armed enemies were not met, and peaceful
people were not disturbed. You arrived in the month of May in
General Taylor's camp, and about in a condition to vindicate, each
of you for himself, your lawful title to the double soubriquet of
the general, with the addition to it which the colonel of the expe
dition has supplied ragged as well as rough and ready. No
doubt you all showed title, at that time, to that third soubriquet;
but to see you now, so gayly attired, so sprucely equipped, one
might suppose that you had never, for an instant, been a stranger
to the virtues of soap and water, or the magic ministrations of
the blanchisseuse, and the elegant transformations of the fashion
able tailor. Thanks, perhaps, to the difference between pay
in the lump, at the end of service, and driblets along in the course
" You arrived in Gen. Taylor's camp ragged and rough, as we
can well conceive, ana* ready, as I can quickly show. You re-
COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS. 95
ported for duty! you asked for service! such as a march upon
San Luis de Potosi, Zacatecas, or the ' halls of the Montezumas ;'
or any thing in that way that the general should have a mind to.
If he was going upon any excursion of that kind, all right. No
matter about fatigues that were passed, or expirations of service
that might accrue : you came to go, and 'only asked the privilege.
That is what I call ready. Unhappily the conqueror of Palo Alto,
Resaca de la Palma, Monterey and Buena Vista, was not exactly
in the condition that the lieutenant-general, that might have been,
intended him to be. He was not at the head of 20,000 men ! he
was not at the head of any thousands that would enable him to
march ! and had to decline the proffered service. Thus the long
marched and well-fought volunteers : the rough, the ready, and
the ragged : had to turn their faces towards home, still more than
two thousand ^liles distant. But this being mostly by water, you
hardly count it in the recital of your march. But this is an unjust
omission, and against the precedents as well as unjust. ' The
Ten Thousand' counted the voyage on the Black Sea as well as
the march from Babylon ; and twenty centuries admit the validity
of the count. The present age, and posterity, will include in 'the
going out and coming in,' of the Missouri Chihuahua Volunteers,
the water voyage as well as the land march ; and then the ex
pedition of the One Thousand will exceed that of the Ten by some
two thousand miles.
"The last nine hundred miles of your land march, from Chihua
hua to Matamoras, you made in forty-five days, bringing seventeen
pieces of artillery, eleven of which were taken from the Sacramento
and the Bracito. Your horses, travelling the whole distance without
the United States provender, were astonished to find themselves
regaled, on their arrival on the Rio Grande frontier, with hay, corn
and oats from the States. You marched further than the farthest,
fought as well as the best, left order and quiet in your train, and
cost less money than any.
" You arrive here to-day, absent one year, marching and fighting
all the time, bringing trophies of cannon and standards from fields
whose names were unknown to you before you set out, and only
96 COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS.
grieving that you could not have gone further. Ten pieces of
cannon rolled out of Chihuahua to arrest your march, now roll
through the streets of St. Louis, to grace your triumphal return.
Many standards, all pierced with bullets while waving over the
heads of the enemy at the Sacramento, now wave at the head
of your column. The black flag, brought to the Bracito, to
indicate the refusal of that quarter which its bearers so soon
needed and received, now takes its place among your nobler
trophies, and hangs drooping in their presence. To crown the
whole, to make public and private happiness go together, to spare
the cypress where the laurel hangs in clusters : this long and
perilous march, with all its accidents of field and camp, presents
an incredibly small list of comrades lost. Almost all return !
and the joy of families resounds intermingled with the applauses
of the State.
"I have said that you made your long expedition without
government orders ; and so indeed you did. You received no
orders from your government, but, without knowing it, you were
fulfilling its orders orders which never reached you. Happy the
soldier who executes the command of his government ; happier
still he who anticipates command, and does what is wanted before
he is bid. This is your case. You did the right thing, at the
right time, and what the government intended you to do, and with
out knowing its intention. The facts are these : Early in the
month of November last, the President asked my opinion on the
manner of conducting the war. I submitted a plan to him, which,
in addition to other things, required all the disposable troops in
New Mexico, and all the Americans in that quarter who could be
engaged for a dashing expedition, to move down through Chihua
hua and the State of Durango, and if necessary to Zacatecas, and
get into communication with General Taylor's right as early as
possible in the month of March. In fact, the disposable Missou-
rians in New Mexico were to be one of three columns destined for
a combined movement on the city of Mexico, all to be on the table
land, and ready for the movement in the month of March. The
President approved the plan, and the Missourians being most dis-
COL. BENTON'S ADDRESS. 97
tarit, orders were despatched to New Mexico, to put them in mo
tion. Mr. Solomon Sublette carried the order, and delivered it to
the commanding officer, at Santa Fe, Col. Price, on the 23d day
of February just five days before you fought the marvellous
battle of Sacramento.
" I well remember what passed between the President and my
self, at the time he resolved to give this order. It awakened his
solicitude for your safety It was to send a small body of men a
great distance, into the heart of a hostile country, and upon the
contingency of uniting in a combined movement, the means for
which had not yet been obtained from Congress. The President
made it a question, and very properly, whether it was safe, or pru
dent, to start, the small Missouri column before the movement of
the left and of the centre was assured. I answered, that my own
rule in public affairs was to do what I thought was right, and
leave it with others to do what they thought was right ; and that
I believed it the proper course for him to follow on the present
occasion. On this view he acted. He gave the order to go, with
out waiting to see whether Congress would furnish the means of
executing the combined plan ; and, for his consolation, I under
took to guaranty your safety. Let the worst come to the worst, I
promised him, that you. would take care of yourselves. Though
the other parts of the plan should fail though you should -become
far involved in the advance, and deeply compromised in the ene
my's country, and without support still I relied on your courage,
skill, and enterprise to extricate yourselves from every danger
to make daylight through all the Mexicans that should stand be
fore you cut your way out and make good your retreat to
Taylor's camp. This is what I promised the President in No
vember last, and what you have so manfully fulfilled. And here
is a little manuscript volume, (the duplicate is in the hands of the
President,) from which I will read you a page, to show you are
the happy soldiers who have done the will of the government,
without knowing its will.
" ' THE RIGHT WING. To be composed of all the disposable
troops in New Mexico to advance rapidly towards Zacatecas, and
98 COL. DONIPHAN'S REPLY.
to attain a position about on a line with Gen. Taylor in the month
of March, and be ready fora push on the capital. This column
to move light to have no rear to keep itself mounted from horses
in the country and to join the centre column, or cut its way out
if the main object fails.'
" This is what was proposed for you in the month of November
last, and what I pledged myself to the President that you would
perform ; and nobly have you redeemed the pledge.
" But this was not the first, or the only time that I pledged my
self for you. As far back as June, 1846, when a separate expe
dition to Chihuahua was first projected, I told the President that
it was unnecessary that the Missouri troops under Gen. Kearny
would take that place, in addition to the conquest of New Mexico
and that he might order the column under Gen. Wool to deflect
to the left, and join Gen. Taylor as soon as he pleased. Again :
when I received a letter from Lieut. Col. Mitchell, dated in No
vember last, and informing me that he was leaving Santa Fe with
one hundred men, to open a communication with Gen. Wool, I
read that letter to the President, and told him that they would do
it. And again : when we heard that Col. Doniphan, with a thou
sand men, after curbing the Navahoes, was turning down towards
the south, and threatening the ancient capital of the captains-gene
ral of the Internal Provinces, I told him they would take it. In
short, my confidence in Missouri enterprise, courage and skill, was
boundless. And now let boundless honour and joy salute, as it
does, your return to the soil of your state, and to the bosoms of
Col. Doniphan's reply was very eloquent, but, as he himself
said, Col. Benton anticipated much. The gallant Missourian thus
commenced his address :
" FELLOW-CITIZENS, I return you, on behalf of my command,
our most heartfelt thanks for the distinguished reception which we
have this day received at your hands. Such a reception entitles
you to our warmest gratitude, and is deeply felt by those to whom
it is extended. The honour conferred is greatly enhanced by the
consideration of the medium through which it is presented. No
COL. DONIPHAN'S REPLY. 99
selfish considerations could, we are satisfied, have induced the
honourable senator to have passed this flattering eulogy upon us.
The part which he has taken here to-day can add nothing to his
fame. From an early day, his history *has been identified with
the history of the state of Missouri, and a feeling of state pride
has induced him to give a favourable consideration to the services
rendered by the volunteers of Missouri. To him, and yourselves,
I again return our warmest thanks. The minute description given
by the orator of scenes through which we have passed has excited
our wonder. Indeed, so correct and minute are his details, that
they resemble history, and I might almost say that they have be
come a part of history. .
"The few brief remarks which I shall make to you, fellow-citi
zens, will of necessity be disconnected. Man seldom speaks of
himself, without vanity ; and it is a habit which I do not often in
dulge. Officers of the Regular army, whose lives are devoted to
their country, may, by their prowess by their long continuance
in the service obtain promotion. The ladder of fame is before
them ; and, by their deeds of chivalry, they may at length reach
the topmost round. Not so with volunteers. They only enlist
for a limited period, at the call of their country in her emergency ;
and then return to mingle with their friends. The only reward
that awaits a volunteer, is the gratitude and warm reception, and
honour of his fellow-citizens. If our services have merited honour,
then we have been more than repaid.
"Upon returning from our arduous campaign, and when enter
ing upon the bosom of that noble stream that washes the borders
of your city when, in passing the magnificent country seats,
bright eyes and smiling faces greeted us, and white handkerchiefs
were waved in honour of the returning volunteers, we felt that we
were sufficiently rewarded for all our toils. When we arrived at
the great city of New Orleans, we were all unknown. That city
is the thoroughfare through which have passed the heroes of Palo
Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Buena Vista, and Cerro Gordo
indeed the heroes of all the brilliant victories achieved in Mexico
and it was to be supposed that they would have been wearied
100 COL. DONIPHAN'S REPLY.
long ago. Yet their patriotism, their regard for their country, is
unceasing. There was not a volunteer in this corps who was not
proffered a welcome hand. The hospitalities of the city were ex
tended to all. Men who arrived there in rags, were clothed the
wealthiest merchants, who had never seen them, proffered them,
every thing they wished for their comfort, and on credit.
" FELLOW-CITIZENS: It has been said of Republics, which have
existed heretofore, that they have been ungrateful. However true
the charge may be with regard to former republics, it is not true
of our own. Patriotism, talent, and virtue, have ever been remem
bered in this government, and they ever will be."
More eloquent words were uttered by Col. Doniphan, and happy
as glowing were those addressed to his comrades in arms ; and
warm and feeling were his adieus to the conquerors of Chihuahua.
His gallant officers then present, Col. Mitchell, Major Clark,
Capt. Weightman, Capt. Hudson, and Capt. Reid, all eloquently
bade farewell to men who must ever live in their memories, as
they deserve to be proudly remembered by their countrymen of
this wide Union.
PACIFIC SQUADRON. 103
Pacific Squadron Com. Sloat Any Emergency Distance and Difficulty of
Communication Orders and Instructions Operations commenced Bay of
Monterey occupied Proclamation Bay of San Francisco Capt. Fremont-
Enrolment of Militia British Man of War Company of Dragoons Com.
Sloat returns to the United States Com. Stockton Operations and De
spatches -Proclamation Tariff and Civil Government Newspaper esta
blished Com. Stockton and Fremont Despatch Fremont Governor
Insurrection Los Angeles Santa Barbara Battle Military and Naval
Operations 'Settlements and Towns 'Com. Stockton's Despatches Gen.
Kearny and Battles of Los Angeles Fremont and Capitulation Com.
Stockton Gen. Kearny and Col. Fremont meet at Los Angeles and separate
Com. Shubrick arrives Capt. Tompkins' Artillery, and Col. Stevenson's
Regiment Com. Shubrick, Gen. Kearny and Joint-Circular Col. Mason, of
First Dragoons, Governor and Commander-in-chief of the Land Forces
Gen. Kearny, Com. Stockton, and Col. Fremont returns American flag
waves over California.
OF the combination of forces employed in the conquest of Cali
fornia and New Mexico, the Pacific Squadron had been early pre
pared to perform an active and efficient part.
On the 24th of June, 1845, Com. John D. Sloat, commanding
the United States naval forces in the Pacific,* was instructed by
a "secret and confidential" order of the Navy Department, "as
soon as he ascertained with certainty that Mexico had declared
war against the United States," at once to possess himself of the
port of San Francisco, and to blockade or occupy such ports as his
force might permit." In fact, he was required " to exercise all
the belligerent rights which belonged to him on the declaration of
war, or the commencement of hostilities."
Com. Sloat lost no time in preparing to meet any emergency
that might arise, having, at that time, and on that distant coast, to
contemplate not only the probability as to Mexico, but the possi
bility of a War with England. At the commencement of the year
1846, the largest American fleet ever collected in that quarter,
* Appendix, No. 6.
104 INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. SLOAT.
were on the west coast of Mexico. The Pacific squadron was
then composed of the frigates Savannah of 52 guns ; (the Consti
tution 50, and the Congress 52 guns under orders to join,) the
sloops of war Portsmouth, Levant and Cyane, each of 22 guns,
with the Warren of 24, in all 244 guns and 2210 officers and
men. This gallant force anxiously awaited the arrival of the
President's message, to learn his views in regard to our Oregon
and Mexican relations, especially in reference to the latter. In
the confidential instructions, Com. Sloat's attention had been par
ticularly called to the then aspect of the relations between this
country and Mexico that it was "the earnest desire of the Pre
sident to pursue the policy of peace," &c. "should Mexico,
however, be resolutely bent on hostilities," he was required "to
protect the persons and interests of citizens of the United States
near his station ; and should he ascertain, beyond a doubt, that
the Mexican government had declared war" against the United
States, he was " at once to employ the forces under his command
to the best advantage." The then Secretary of the Navy, Mr.
Bancroft, added, " The great distance of your squadron, and the
difficulty of communicating with you, is the cause of issuing this
The line of conduct prescribed by these instructions was ob
served by this officer " with such intelligence and fidelity, that no
complaint has ever been made of any unauthorized aggression on
On the 13th of May, 1846, the Secretary of the Navy wrote to
inform Commodore Sloat that " the state of things alluded to in his
letter of June 24, 1845," had occurred ; that he should be governed
by the instructions therein contained, and should " carry into effect
the orders then communicated, with energy and promptitude."
Two days thereafter, the Secretary again wrote him, and trans
mitted through Midshipman McRae, sent express, a file of papers
containing the President's message, proceedings of Congress, and
the President's proclamation of war, &c.
* Report of Secretary Mason, of December 5, 1846.
INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. SLOAT. 105
On the 8th of June following, Com. Sloat was told by the Sec
retary of the Navy, "it is rumoured the province of California is
well disposed to accede to friendly relations with the United States ;"
that he should " encourage the people of that region to enter into
relations of amity with our country ;" and that, " in taking posses
sion of their harbours," he should "if possible, endeavour to
establish the supremacy of the American flag without any strife
with the people of California," &c.*
The order, now given entire, contains the substance t of the two
mentioned above, with other details :
UNITED STATES NATT DEPARTMENT,
Washington, July 12, 1846.
COMMODORE : Previous instructions have informed you of the
intention of this government, pending the war with Mexico, to
take and hold possession of California. For this end a company
of artillery, with cannon, mortars, and munitions of war, is sent to
you in the Lexington, for the purpose of co-operating with you,
according to the best of your judgment, and of occupying, under
your direction, such post or posts as you may deem expedient in
the bay of Monterey, or in the bay of San Francisco, or in both.
In the absence of a military officer higher than captain, the selec
tion of the first American post or posts on the waters of the Pa
cific, in California, is left to your discretion.
The object of the United States is, under its rights as a bellige
rent nation, to possess itself entirely of Upper California.
When San Francisco and Monterey are secured, you will, if
possible, send a small vessel of war to take and hold possession of
the port of San Diego ; and it would be well to ascertain the views
of the inhabitants of Pueblo de los Angeles, who, according to
information received here, may be counted upon as desirous of
coming under the jurisdiction of the United States. If you can
take possession of it, you should do so.
* The letters from which quotations are here made, may be found in Ex. Doc.
No. 19, of House of Reps, of U. S., 3d sess. 29th Cong., which embraces all the
orders as yet promulgated, and are here seriatim noticed or given in full.
f Appendix, Nos. 7, 8, and 9.
106 INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. SLOAT.
The object of the United States has reference to ultimate peace
with Mexico ; and if, at that peace, the basis of the uti possidetis
shall be established, the government expects, through your forces,
to be found in actual possession of Upper California.
This will bring with it the necessity of a civil administration.
Such a government shall be established under your protection ;
and, in selecting persons to hold office, due respect should be had
to the wishes of the people of California, as well as to the actual
possessors of authority in that province. It may be proper to
require an oath of allegiance to the United States from those who
are intrusted with authority. You will also assure the people of
California of the protection of the United States.
In reference to commercial regulations in the ports of which you
are in actual possession, ships and produce of the United States
should come and go free of duty.
For your further instruction, I enclose to you a copy of confi
dential instructions from the War Department to Brig.-Gen. S. W.
Kearny, who is ordered, overland, to California. You will also
communicate your instructions to him, and inform him that they
have the sanction of the President.
The government relies on the land and naval forces to co-operate
with each other in the most friendly and effective manner.
After you shall have secured Upper California, if your force is
sufficient, you will take possession, and keep the harbours on the
Gulf of California as far down, at least, as Guaymas. But this is
not to interfere with the permanent occupation of Upper California.
A regiment of volunteers from the state of New York, to serve
during the war, have been called for by the government, and are
expected to sail from the 1st to the 10th of August. This regiment
will, in the first instance, report to the naval commander on your
station, but will ultimately be under the command of Gen. Kearny,
who is appointed to conduct the expedition by land.
The term of three years having nearly expired since you have
been in command of the Pacific squadron, Com. Shubrick will soon
be sent out in the Independence to relieve you. The department
INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. BIDDLE. 107
confidently hopes that all Upper California will be in our hands
before the relief shall arrive.
Com. JOHN D. SLOAT,
Commanding U. *S r . Naval Forces in the Pacific ocean.
This was followed by the order of August 13, given entire
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, August 13, 1846.
SIR : The United States being in a state of war by the action of
Mexico, it is desired, by the prosecution of hostilities, to hasten the
return of peace, and to secure it on advantageous conditions. For
this purpose orders have been given to the squadron in the Pacific
to take and keep possession of Upper California, especially of the
ports of San Francisco, of Monterey, and of San Diego ; and also,
if opportunity offer, and the people favour, to take possession, by
an inland expedition, of San Pueblo de los Angeles, near San
Your first duty will be to ascertain if these orders have been
carried into effect. If not, you will take immediate possession of
Upper California, especially of the three ports of San Francisco,
Monterey, and San Diego, so that if the treaty of peace shall be
made on the basis of the uti possidetis, it may leave California to
the United States.
The relations to be maintained with the people of Upper Cali
fornia are to be as friendly as possible. The flag of the United
States must be raised ; but under it the people are to be allowed
as much liberty of self-government as is consistent with the
general occupation of the country by the United States. You, as
commander-in-chief of the squadron, may exercise the right to
interdict the entrance of any vessel or articles, that would be un
favourable to our success in the war, into any of the enemy's ports
which you may occupy. With this exception, all United States
vessels and merchandise must be allowed, by the local authorities
108 INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. BIDDLE.
of the ports of which you take possession, to come and go free of
duty ; but on foreign vessels and goods reasonable duties may be
imposed, collected, and disposed of by the local authorities, under
your general superintendence.
A military force has been directed by the Secretary of War to
proceed to the western coast of California for the purpose of co
operation with the navy, in taking possession of and holding the
ports and positions which have been specified, and for otherwise
operating against Mexico.
A detachment of these troops, consisting of a company of artillery,
under command of Captain Tompkins, has sailed in the United
States ship Lexington. A regiment of volunteers, under Col.
Stevenson, will soon sail from New York ; and a body of troops
tinder Brigadier-general Kearny may reach the coast via Santa
Fe. Copies of so much of the instructions to Capt. Tompkins and
Gen. Kearny as relates to objects requiring co-operation are here
By article 6 of the " General Regulations for the Army,"t edition
of 1825, which is held by the War Department to be still in force,
and of which I enclose you a copy, your commission that is, the
commission of Commodore Biddle] places you in point of prece
dence, on occasions of ceremony or upon meetings for consultation,
in the class of major-general, but no officer of the army or navy,
whatever may be his rank, can assume any direct command, inde
pendent of consent, over an officer of the other service, excepting
only when land forces are specially embarked in vessels of War to
do the duty of marines.
The President expects and requires, however, the most cordial
and effectual co-operation between the officers of the two services,
in taking possession of and holding the ports and positions of the
enemy which are designated in the instructions to either or both
branches of the service, and will hold any commander of either
branch to a strict responsibility for any failure to preserve harmony
and secure the objects proposed.
* See Chapter 4, and Appendix. ( Appendix, No. 10.
INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. BIDDLE. 109
The land forces which have been or will be sent to the Pacific
may be dependent upon the vessels of your squadron for transpor
tation from one point to another, and for shelter and protection in
case of being compelled to abandon positions on the coast. It may
be necessary also to furnish transportation for their supplies, or
to furnish the supplies themselves, by the vessels under your
In all such cases you will furnish all the assistance in your
power which will not interfere with objects that, in your opinion,
are of greater importance.
You will, taking care, however, to advise with any land officer
of high rank say of the rank of brigadier-general who may be
at hand, make the necessary regulations for the ports that may be
Having provided for the full possession of Upper California, the
next point of importance is the Gulf of California. From the best
judgment I can form, you should take possession of the port of
Guaymas. The progress of our arms will probably be such that,
in conjunction with land forces, you will be able to hold possession
of Guaymas, and so to reduce all the country north of it on the
As to the ports south of it, especially Mazatlan and Acapulco,
it is not possible to give you special instructions. Generally, you
'will take possession of, or blockade, according to your best judg
ment, all Mexican ports as far as your means allow ; but south of
Guaymas, if the provinces rise up against the central government,
and manifest friendship towards the United States, you may,
according to your discretion, enter into a temporary agreement of
neutrality. But this must be done only on condition that our ships
have free access to their ports, and equal commercial rights with
those of other nations ; that you are allowed to take in water and
fuel, to purchase supplies, to go to and from shore without obstruc
tion, as in time of peace ; and that the provinces which are thus
neutral shall absolutely abstain from contributing towards the con
tinuance of the war by the central government of Mexico against
the United States.
110 INSTRUCTIONS TO COM. SHUBRICK.
Generally you will exercise the rights of a belligerent; and bear
in mind that the greater advantages you obtain, the more speedy
and the more advantageous will be the peace. *
The Savannah, the Warren, and the Levant ought soon to re
turn. If you hear of peace between the United States and Mexico,
you will at once send them home.
If war continues, you will send them home singly, or in com
pany, at the earliest day they can be spared. The Savannah will
go to New York, and the Warren and Levant to Norfolk.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
To Com. JAMES BIDDLE, or
Com. R. F. STOCKTON, or
The SENIOR OFFICER in command of the
United States Naval Forces in the Pacific ocean.
Four days after the date of the above, on the 17th of August,
Mr. Bancroft addressed to "Commodore W. B. Shubrick, ap
pointed to command the United States naval forces in the Pacific
ocean," a letter of instructions* exactly similar, (with the omission
of the words in brackets, " that is the commission of Commodore
Biddle,) and with the insertion of the following :
"Should Commodore Biddle be in the Pacific, off the shores of
Mexico, at the time you arrive there, you will report yourself to
him; and as long as he remains off the coast of Mexico, you
will act under his direction in concert with him, communicating
to him these instructions."
On the 1st of July, 1846, the naval forces under the command
of Com. Sloat consisted of the frigate Savannah; sloops Ports
mouth, Levant, Warren, and Cyane ; schooners Shark, and
store-ship Erie. They were reinforded by the frigate Congress,
Commodore Stockton ; the sloops Saratoga,* Dale, and Preble, and
* Appendix, No. 11.
f Saratoga, disabled by stress of weather, returned before reaching her destina
COMMENCEMENT OF OPERATIONS. Ill
by the razee Independence, under command of Com. W. Bradford
Shubrick, who went out to relieve Com. Sloat,. under orders issued
in August, 1846.
,; The frigate Columbus, Com. James Biddle, had also been or
dered on the 6th of January, 1846, from the China seas, to the
north-west coast of America, and to assume the command, but
could not reach the station till a later period.
The active operations of the Pacific squadron were commenced
under the order of June, 1845, which required the commander of
the naval forces " to exercise all the belligerent rights which be
longed to him on the declaration of war, or the commencement of
hostilities by Mexico against the United States."
On the 7th of June, 1846, Com. Sloat received, at Mazatlan,
satisfactory information, through Mexico, " that the Mexican troops,
six or seven thousand strong, had, by order of the Mexican go
vernment, invaded the territory of the United States, north of the
Rio Grande, and had attacked the forces under Gen. Taylor, and
that the squadron of the United States was blockading the ports
of Mexico on the Gulf, and he properly considered these hostilities
as justifying his commencing offensive operations on the west
Distance had precluded their knowledge of the order of the
13th of May, 1846 ; issued on the day when the American Con
gress recognised the fact that war existed and, indeed, of all the
subsequent instructions, until the Conquest of California had been
Thus had the time of action arrived, and right quickly did our
gallant tars enter upon a series of achievements as glorious and
important as they were novel and exciting.
On the day after the receipt of the war news, Com. Sloat, in
the flag-ship Savannah, left Mazatlan, and, on the 2d of July,
reached Monterey in Upper California. Here he found the
Cyane and Levant, and learned that the Portsmouth was at San
Francisco, as before arranged.
* Report of the Secretary of the Navy.
112 SEIZURE OF MONTEREY.
Having previously examined the defences, &c., of the town,
and made every arrangement, on the morning of the 7th, Capt.
Wm. Mervine, of the United States navy, was sent to demand its
immediate surrender. By 9 o'clock A. M., the answer of the
Mexican commandant was received. He stated that he was not
authorized to surrender the place, and referred Com. Sloat to
the commanding general of California, Don Jose Castro. By
10 o'clock, the necessary force of 250 seamen and marines were
landed under the immediate command of Capt. Mervine, assisted
by Commander H. N. Page, as second, and were immediately
inarched to the custom-house, where Com. Sloat's "proclamation
was read, the standard of the United States hoisted amid three
hearty cheers, by the troops and foreigners present, and a salute
of twenty-one guns fired by all the ships. Immediately after
wards, the proclamation, both in English and Spanish, was posted
up about the town, and two justices of the peace appointed to
preserve order and punish delinquencies, the alcaldes declining to
The following is the proclamation above alluded to :
To the Inhabitants of California.
The central government of Mexico having commenced hostili
ties against the United States of America, by invading its territory,
and attacking the troops of the United States stationed on the
north side of the Rio Grande, and with a force of 7000 men under
the command of Gen. Arista, which army was totally destroyed,
and all their artillery, baggage, &c., captured on the 8th and 9th
of May last, by a force of 2300 men, under the command of Gen.
Taylor, and the city of Matamoras taken and occupied by the
forces of the United States, and the two nations being actually at
war by this transaction, I shall hoist the standard of the United
States at Monterey immediately, and shall carry it throughout Cali
I declare to the inhabitants of California, that, although I come
* Com. Sloat's despatch, of 31st of July, 1846.
COM. SLOAT'S PROCLAMATION. 113
in arms with a powerful force, I do not come among them as an
enemy to California : on the contrary, I come as their best friend,
as henceforth California will be a portion of the United States,
and its peaceable inhabitants will enjoy the same rights and pri
vileges they now enjoy, together with the privilege of choosing
their own magistrates and other officers for the administration of
justice among themselves, and the same protection will be ex
tended to them as to any other State in the Union. They will
also enjoy a permanent government, under which life, property,
and the constitutional right and lawful security to worship the
Creator in the way most congenial to each one's sense of duty,
will be secured, which, unfortunately, the central government of
Mexico cannot afford them, destroyed, as her resources are by in
ternal factions, and corrupt officers, who create constant revolu
tions to promote their own interests and oppress the people.
Under the flag of the United States, California will be free from
all such troubles and expense ; consequently, the country will
rapidly advance and improve both in agriculture and commerce,
as, of course, the revenue laws will be the same in California as
in all other parts of the United States, affording them all manufac
tures and produce of the United States, free of any duty, and all
foreign goods at one quarter of the duty they now pay. A great
increase in the value of real estate and the products of California
may also be anticipated.
With the great interest and kind feelings I know the govern
ment and people of the United States possess towards the citi
zens of California, the country cannot but improve more rapidly
than any other on the continent of America.
Such of the inhabitants of California, whether native or foreign
ers, as may not be disposed to accept the high privileges of citi
zenship, and to live peaceably under the government of the United
States, will be allowed time to dispose of their property, and to
remove out of the country, if they choose, without any restriction ;
or remain in it, observing strict neutrality.
With full confidence in the honour and integrity of the inhabit
ants of the country, I invite the judges, alcaldes, and other civil
114 SUMMONS TO GEN. CASTRO.
officers, to retain their offices, and to execute their functions as
heretofore, that the public tranquillity may not be disturbed ; at
least, until the government of the territory can be more definitely
All persons holding titles to real estate, or in quiet possession of
lands under a colour of right, shall have those titles and rights
guarantied to them.
All churches, and the property they contain, in possession of the
clergy of California, shall continue in the same rights and posses
sions they now enjoy.
All provisions and supplies of every kind furnished by the
inhabitants for the use of the United States ships. and soldiers will
be paid for at fair rates ; and no private property will be taken for
public use without just compensation at the moment.
JOHN D. SLOAT,
Commander-in-chief of the United States
Naval Force in the Pacific ocean.
Previous to landing, Com. Sloat had an order read to the crews
of all the ships, in the spirit of the proclamation, enforcing order,
vigilance, &c., so that, from the moment of landing to that of de
parture, not the least depredation, or slightest injury, or irregu
larity, was committed.
Immediately after taking possession of Monterey, a courier was
despatched to Don Jose Castro, with a copy of the proclamation,
requiring him, in order to prevent the sacrifice of life and the hor
rors of war, to surrender every thing under his control and juris
diction in California ; and he was invited to meet Com. Sloat at
Monterey, to enter into articles of capitulation, that he, with his
officers and soldiers, together with the inhabitants of California,
might receive assurance of perfect safety to themselves and pos
To which a reply, dated " Head-quarters, San Juan de Bautista,
July 9," was received, stating, that in a matter of so much import
ance, he must consult the governor and assembly of the depart
ment ; meanwhile, he should spare no sacrifice in the defence of
SEIZURE OF YERBA BUENA. 115
the country under his charge, as long as he could reckon on a
single individual to join him in the cause.
On the 9th, Com. Sloat despatched a letter, by courier, to Don
Pio Pico, the governor at Santa Barbara, informing him of the
summons to Gen. Castro to surrender the country of the procla
mation assuring him that not the least impropriety had been com
mitted in the town, its business and social intercourse remaining
undisturbed, and invites Pico to come to Monterey to assure him
self, &c., so that he may be satisfied, and through him the people
of California, that " although he comes in arms with a powerful
force, he comes as the best friend of California ;" concluding with
the assurance that he had " already employed all the means in his
power to stop the sacrifice of human life in the north," and of his
belief that he shall succeed, " provided there is no further opposi
tion." To this no answer is known to have been returned.
On the 6th of July, Com. Sloat wrote :
FLAG SHIP SAVANSTAH,
Monterey, July 6, 1846.
SIR : Since I wrote you last evening, I have determined to hoist
the flag of the United States at this place to-morrow, as I would
prefer being sacrificed for doing too much than too little.
If you consider you have sufficient force, or if Fremont will join
you, you will hoist the flag of the United States at Yerba Buena,
or any other proper place, and take possession, in the name of the
United States, of the fort, and that portion of the country.
I send you a copy of my summons to the military commandant
of Monterey to surrender the place, and also my proclamation to
the people of California, which you will have translated into
Spanish, and promulgate many copies in both languages. I have
sent a similar letter to Gen. Castro, with an addition of an invita
tion for him to meet me at this place to enter into a capitulation
I will send you a duplicate copy of these documents to-morrow,
which I hope will reach you before the boat can get up. You will
secure the bay of San Francisco as soon as possible, at all events.
It is my intention to go up to San Francisco as soon as I can leave
this, which I hope will not be many days.
116 SEIZURE OF YERBA BUENA.
Mr. Larkin advises that you should not send by courier any
thing that would do harm to make public ; and should you have
any thing that you consider important for me to know, you can
send the launch down again.
I am very anxious to know if Capt. Fremont will co-operate
with us. Mr. Larkin is writing to him by the launch, and you
will please put him in possession of his letter as soon as possible.
I have not time to write more at present.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, &c.,
JOHN D. SLOAT,
To Commander J. B. MONTGOMERY,
U. S. ship Portsmouth, San Francisco.
A duplicate of this order, sent by land, was received by Com
mander Montgomery on the 8th, who, in a few hours after its
receipt, despatched Lieut. Revere to Capt. John Grigsby, at So-
noura, with Com. Sioat's letter, and flags for him and Suiter's fort,
on the Sacramento. At eight o'clock next morning, Com. Mont
gomery landed at Yerba Buena with seventy seamen and marines
hoisted the American flag in the public square, with twenty-one
guns from the sloop of war Portsmouth, amid cheers from all quar
ters addressed the people, and posted the proclamation on the
flag-staff. The seamen and a few of the marines returned to the
ship, without a man having left the ranks. Lieut. H. B. Watson,
of the marine corps, remained with part of his guard, and was
formally installed as military occupant of the post. The male
residents of Yerba Buena were then called together, and a volunteer
guard of thirty-two men at once enrolled, and electing their own offi
cers, were fully organized for emergency, under the direction of
Lieuts. Missroon, of the navy, and Watson. At one o'clock, Lieut.
Missroon was, by order, on his way to the Presidio and fort, with
an armed party of this volunteer guard to ascertain their condition,
&c. ; and that day promptly reported he had found the Presidio
abandoned the fort, about seven miles from the town, in a dilapi
dated condition, with three old Spanish pieces, made in 1623,
SEIZURE OF YERBA BUENA. 117
1628, and 1693, besides three long iron forty-twos, and four smaller
iron guns all the iron guns lately spiked by Capt. Fremont, but
that new vents might be drilled in the brass ones, &c. ; and that
he had displayed the flag of the United States upon its ramparts.
On the same day, Commander Montgomery ordered Purser Wat-
mough to proceed to Santa Clara, and to the Pueblo, if necessary,
to intercept Capt. Fremont, then on his march from the Sacra
mento, and deliver a notification of the change in the political con
dition of California of the official notification of the existence of
the war, and of Com. Sloat's request to see him in Monterey
" with a view to future arrangements and co-operation, at as early
a period as possible." On the same day, Commander Montgo
mery issued a proclamation, calling upon "all the residents of the
district, agreeably to the laws of the United States of America,
regulating the militia, to enrol themselves into a military company,
appoint their own officers, &c. for the maintenance of order, and
protection of property in Yerba Buena and its immediate neigh
bourhood ; and Henry B. Watson, Esq., was appointed military
commandant pro tern, of all the marines and militia." On the
llth, Commander Montgomery informed Com. Sloat that the flag
of the United States was then flying at Yerba Buena, at Sutter's
fort, on the Sacramento, at Bodega, on the coast, and at Sonoura,
and adds, "the protection of person and property which our flag
promises to California and its inhabitants, seems to be generally
hailed with satisfaction."
That day, says Commander Montgomery, the Juno, British 26
gun ship, arrived and anchored at Sausalita, &c. "On the
appearance of that ship, the necessary preparation was made to
defend our position, in the event of English opposition to our
claims." It thus became necessary to withdraw the marines from
the shore to the ship. Ashore the flag of the United States was
committed, by Mr. Watson, to the care of the " Volunteer Guards
of Yerba Buena, who " unanimously gave the strongest assurances
that it should wave while a single man of the " Guards" lived to
A summons was sent, by Commander Montgomery, to the mili-
1J8 CORPS OF DRAGOONS ORGANIZED.
tary commandant of that district, Don Francisco Sanchez, to
deliver up arms, public property, &c., and to come in ; which he
did, and stated that he possessed no public property, but indicated
where several guns were buried.
Lieut. Missroon was ordered to the Mission of Dolores in search
of arms, ammunition, &c., and the public documents of the district.
No arms were found. A collection of public documents was made,
carefully packed and sealed with the consulate seal, &c., and de
posited in the custom-house at Yerba Buena.
The details of gallant exploits and achievements in this quarter
of the war are abundantly full of interest ; it is not, however, per
mitted in the plan of this work to do otherwise than sketch their
outlines, hence the most concise official reports must be followed,
At their request, on the 13th July, Com. Sloat furnished a flag
to the foreigners of the Pueblo of San Jose, about seventy miles
interior from Monterey, and appointed a justice of the peace, the*,
alcaldes declining to serve. On the 8th, Purser D. Fauntleroy,
well qualified for such service, was ordered to organize a company
of thirty-five dragoons, from volunteers from the ships and citi
zens, to reconnoitre the country, keep the communication open
between Monterey and San Francisco, &c. Of this troop, passed
Midshipman McLane was appointed first lieutenant. On the 17th,
this command was ordered to reconnoitre as far as the mission of
St. John's ; to take possession of that place, hoist the flag, and to
recover ten brass guns, said to have been buried there when he
retreated from that place. On his arrival there, Mr. Fauntleroy
found the place had been taken possession of an hour or two pre
vious by Capt. Fremont, with whom he returned to Monterey on
the 19th. Subsequently Mr. Fauntleroy garrisoned the mission
of St. Johns dug up and mounted the guns, and recovered a
large quantity of powder and shot secreted there, and kept open
the communication between St. Johns, the Pueblo of San Jose, and
From the return of Capt. Fremont with Mr. Fauntleroy resulted
the first interview between the former and Com. Sloat.
COM. STOCKTON'S REPORT. 119
On the afternoon of the 15th, the frigate Congress arrived at
Monterey, and Com. Stockton reported for duty.
On the 16th, the British admiral, Sir George Seymour, arrived
in the Collingwood, 80. An officer was immediately sent to tender
him the usual courtesies, &c., of the port. He was subsequently
furnished with spars for his ship. On the 23d, Com. Stockton
was ordered to the command on shore ; and on the 29th of July
Com. Sloat found his infirm health so enfeebled by his arduous
duties, that he determined to avail himself of a permission which
had been given him, in his discretion, to assign the command to
Com. Stockton, and sailed for Panama on his return home.
"After encountering much peril and hardship, this gallant and
meritorious officer arrived at the seat of government early in No
The operations of Com. Stockton are rapidly sketched, by him
self, down to the 28th of August, in the following despatch :
CuiDAD DE LOS ANGELES,
August 28, 1846.
SIR : You have already been informed of my having, on the
23d of July, assumed the command of the United States forces on
the west coast of Mexico. I have now the honour to inform you
that the flag of the United States is flying from every commanding
position in the territory of California, and that this rich and beauti
ful country belongs to the United States, and is for ever free from
On the day after I took this command I organized the "Cali
fornia battalion of mounted riflemen," by the appointment of all
the necessary officers, and received them as volunteers into the
service of the United States. Capt. Fremont was appointed
major, and Lieut. Gillespie captain of the battalion.
The next day they were embarked on board the sloop of war
Cyane, Commander Dupont, and sailed from Monterey for San
Diego, that they might be landed to the southward of the Mexican
forces, amounting to 500 men, under Gen. Castro and Governor
* Secretary Mason's Report, 5th Dec. 1846.
120 COM. STOCKTON'S REPORT.
Pico, and who were well fortified at the "Camp of the Mesa,"
three miles from this city.
A few days after the Cyane left, I sailed in the Congress for
San Pedro, the port of entry for this department, and thirty miles
from this place, where I landed with my gallant sailor army, and
marched directly for the redoubtable " Camp of the Mesa."
But when we arrived within twelve miles of the camp, General
Castro broke ground and run for the city of Mexico. The go
vernor of the territory, and the other principal officers, separated
in different parties, and ran away in different directions.
Unfortunately, the mounted riflemen did not get up in time to
head them off. We have since, however, taken most of the
principal officers : the rest will be permitted to remain quiet at
home, under the restrictions contained in my proclamation of
On the 13th of August, having been joined by Major Fremont
with about eighty riflemen, and M. Larkin, late American consul,
we entered this famous " City of the Angels," the capital of the
Californias, and took unmolested possession of the government
Thus, in less than a month after I assumed the command of the
United States force in California, we have chased the Mexican
army more than three hundred miles along the coast ; pursued
them thirty miles in the interior of their own country ; routed and
dispersed them, and secured the territory to the United States ;
ended the \var; restored peace and harmony among the people;
and put a civil government into successful operation.
The Warren and Cyane sailed a few days since to blockade the
west coast of Mexico, south of San Diego ; and having almost
finished my work here, I will sail in the Congress as soon as the
store-ship arrives, and I can get supplied with provisions, on a
cruise for the protection of our commerce; and dispose of the
other vessels as most effectually to attain that object, and at the
same time to keep the southern coast strictly blockaded.
When I leave the Territory, I will appoint Major Fremont to be
governor, and Lieut. Gillespie to be secretary.
COM. STOCKTON'S PROCLAMATION. 121
I enclose you several papers, marked from 1 to 14 inclusive,
including this letter, and the first number of the " Californian,"
by which you will see what sort of a government I have esta
blished, and how I am proceeding.
I have not time to specify individual merit ; but I cannot omit
to say, that I do not think that ardent patriotism and indomitable
courage have ever been more evident than amongst the officers
and men, 360 in number, from the frigate Congress, who accom
panied me on this trying and hazardous march a longer march,
perhaps, than has ever been made in the interior of a country by
sailors, after an enemy. I would likewise say, that the conduct
of the officers and men of the whole squadron has been praise
I have received your despatch of the 13th of May, and at the
same time a Mexican account of the proceedings of Congress, and
the President's proclamation, by the United States ship Warren,
Faithfully, your obedient servant,
R. F. STOCKTON.
To the Hon. GEORGE BANCROFT,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
The despatch had been sent overland from Chagres, and arrived
on the 19th of August. It will thus be seen, at what distant time
the President's proclamation reached the distant scene, where vic
tory had already crowned the arms of the republic. The instruc
tions of a subsequent date were, of course, still on the 'vay.
Meanwhile, the proclamation, indicated in the above letter, had
been issued, as follows :
To THE PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA !
On my approach to this place with the forces under my com
mand, Jose Castro, the commandant-general of California, buried
his artillery, and abandoned his fortified camp " of the Mesa,"
and fled, it is believed, towards Mexico.
With the sailors, the marines, and the California battalion of
mounted Riflemen, we entered the " City of the Angels," the
122 COM. STOCKTON'S PROCLAMATION.
capital of California, on the 13th of August, and hoisted the North
The flag of the United States is now flying from every com
manding position in the territory, and California is entirely free
from Mexican dominion.
The Territory of California now belongs to the United States,
and will be governed, as soon as circumstances will permit, by
officers and laws similar to those by which the other Territories
of the United States are regulated and protected.
But, until the governor, the secretary, and council are ap
pointed, and the various civil departments of the government are
arranged, military law will prevail, and the commander-in-chief
will be the governor and protector of the Territory.
In the mean time the people will be permitted, and are now re
quested, to meet in their several towns and departments, at such
time and place as they may see fit, to elect civil officers to fill the
places of those who decline to continue in office', and to adminis
ter the laws according to the former usages of the Territory. In
all cases where the people fail to elect, the commander-in-chief and
governor will make the appointments himself.
All persons of whatever religion or nation, who faithfully ad
here to the new government, will be considered as citizens of the
Territory, and will be zealously and thoroughly protected in the
liberty of conscience, their persons, and property.
No persons will be permitted to remain in the Territory who do
not agree to support the existing government ; and all military
men who desire to remain, are required to take an oath that they
will not take up arms against it, or do or say any thing to disturb
Nor will any persons, come from where they may, be permitted
to settle in the Territory, who do not pledge themselves to be, in
all respects, obedient to the laws which may be from time to time
enacted by the proper authorities of the Territory.
All persons who, without special permission, are found with
arms outside of their own houses, will be considered as enemies,
and will be shipped out of the country.
FORM OF GOVERNMENT. 123
All thieves will be put to hard labour on the public works, and
there kept until compensation is made for the property stolen.
The California battalion of mounted Riflemen will be kept in
the service of the Territory, and constantly on duty, to prevent
and punish any aggressions by the Indians, or any other persons,
upon the property of individuals, or the peace of the Territory;
and California shall hereafter be so governed and defended as to
give security to the inhabitants, and to defy the power of Mexico.
All persons are required, as long as the Territory is under mar
tial law, to be within their houses from ten o'clock at night, until
sunrise in the morning.
R. F. STOCKTON,
Commander-in-chief and Governor of the Territory of California.
ClJIDAD DE LOS ANGELES, JLugUSt 17, 1846.
The form of government established, was announced as fol
" I, Robert F. Stockton, commander-in-chief of the United States
forces in the Pacific ocean, and governor of the Territory of Cali
fornia, and commander-in-chief of the army of the same, do here
by make knowji to all men, that, having by right of conquest taken
possession of that territory known by the name of Upper and
Lower California, do now declare it to be a Territory of the United
States, under the name of the Territory of California.
" And I do by these presents further order and decree, that the
government of the said Territory of California shall be, until al
tered by the proper authority of the United States, constituted in
manner and form as follows ; that is to say :
" The executive power and authority in and over the said Ter
ritory shall be vested in a governor, who shall hold his office for
four years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United
States. The governor shall reside within the said Territory ; shall
be commander-in-chief of the army thereof; shall perform the
duties and receive the emoluments of superintendent of Indian
affairs, and shall approve of all laws passed by the legislative
council before they shall take effect. He may grant pardons for
124 FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
offences against the laws of the said Territory, and reprieves for
offences against the laws of the United States, until the decision
of the President can be made known thereon : he shall commis
sion all officers who shall be appointed to office under the laws of
the said Territory, and shall take care that the laws be faithfully
" There shall be a secretary of the said Territory, who shall re
side therein, and hold his office for four years, unless sooner re
moved by the President of the United States. He shall record
and preserve all the laws and proceedings of the legislative coun
cil hereinafter constituted, and all the acts and proceedings of the
governor in his executive department. He shall transmit one
copy of the laws, and one copy of the executive proceedings, on
or before the first Monday in December in each year, to the Pre
sident of the United States ; and, at the same time, two copies of
the laws to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for the
use of Congress. And, in case of the death, removal, resignation,
or necessary absence of the governor from the Territory, the se
cretary shall have, and he is hereby authorized and required to
execute and perform all the powers and duties of the governor dur
ing such vacancy or necessary absence.
" The legislative power shall be vested in the governor and le
gislative council. The legislative council shall consist of seven
persons, who shall be appointed by the governor for two years ;
after which they shall be annually elected by the people.
"The power of the legislative council of the Territory shall
extend to all rightful subjects of legislation ; but no law shall be
passed interfering with the primary disposal of the soil ; no tax
shall be imposed upon the property of the United States ; nor shall
the land or property of non-residents be taxed higher than the
lands or other property of residents.
" All the laws of the legislative council shall be submitted to,
and if disapproved by the governor, the same shall be null and
of no effect.
" The municipal officers of cities, towns, departments, or dis
tricts, heretofore existing in the Territory, shall continue to exist.
FORM OF GOVERNMENT. 125
and all their proceedings be regulated and controlled by the laws
of Mexico, until otherwise provided for by the governor and legis
"All officers of cities, towns, departments, or districts, shall be
elected every year by the people, in such a manner as may be
provided by the governor and legislative council.
"The legislative council of the Territory of California shall
hold its first session at such time and place in said territory as the
governor thereof shall appoint and direct ; and at said session, or
as soon thereafter as may by them be deemed expedient, the
said governor and legislative council shall proceed to locate and
establish the seat of government for said territory, at -such place
as they may deem eligible ; which place, however, shall thereafter
be subject to be changed by the said governor and legislative coun
cil, and the time and place of the annual commencement of the
session of the said legislative council thereafter shall be on such
day and place as the governor and council may appoint."
On the 15th of August, 1846, Com. Stockton adopted a tariff of
duties on all goods imported from foreign ports of fifteen per cent,
ad valorem, and a tonnage duty of fifty cents per ton on all foreign
On the 22d of August, the elections were ordered to be held on
the 15th of the following month, when Walter Colton, Esq., the
chaplain of the frigate Congress, was declared duly elected Al
calde of Monterey. There were seven competitors for this office,
and 338 votes, out of which Mr. Colton received sixty-eight. In
San Juan, Mathew Felon was elected alcalde, and the councillors
chosen were Messrs. Hartnall, Spence, Dias, &c.
Meanwhile, Messrs. Colton and Semple had established a news
paper, and on the 5th of August was published the first number
of " The Californian."
In this situation of affairs was issued the following order:
CTJIDAD DE tos ANGELES, August 24, 1846.
SIR : By the Mexican newspapers, I see that war has been
declared both by the United States and Mexico, and the most
126 COL. FREMONT MADE GOVERNOR.
vigorous measures have been adopted by Congress to carry it to a
Privateers will, no doubt be fitted out to prey upon our com
merce ; and the immense value of that commerce in the Pacific
ocean, and the number of valuable men engaged in it, require
immediately all the protection that can be given to them by the
ships under my command.
I must, therefore, withdraw my forces from California as soon
as it can be safely done, and as soon as you can enlist men enough
to garrison this city, Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and
San Diego, and to have a sufficient force besides to watch the
Indians and other enemies.
For these purposes, you are authorized and required to increase
your present force to 300 men.
Fifty for San Francisco, fifty for Monterey, twenty-five for Santa
Barbara, fifty for this city, and twenty-five for San Diego, and 100
to be kept together, with whom, those in the several garrisons
can, at a short notice, be called upon at any time, in case of neces
sity, to act.
I propose, before I leave the territory, to appoint you to be the
governor, and Captain Gillespie the secretary thereof; and to ap
point also the council of state, and all the necessary officers.
You will, therefore, proceed without delay to do all you can to
further my views and intentions thus frankly manifested. Sup
posing that by the 25th of October, you will have accomplished
your part of these preparations, I will meet you at San Francisco
on that day, to complete the whole arrangement, and to place you
as governor over California.
You will dispose of your present force in the following man
ner, which may be hereafter altered as occasion may require :
Capt. Gillespie to be stationed at this city, with fifty men and
officers in the neighbourhood ; twenty-five men, with an officer, at
Santa Barbara ; fifty men and officers at Monterey, and fifty at
If this be done at once, I can, at any time, safely withdraw my
forces as I proceed up the coast to San Francisco, and be ready,
INSURRECTION OF THE INHABITANTS. 127
after our meeting, on the 25th of October, to leave the desk and
the camp, and take to the ship and to the sea.
Faithfully, your obedient servant,
R. F. STOCKTON,
Commander-in-chief, and Governor of the
To MAJOR FREMONT, Territory of California.
California Battalion, Cuidad de los Angeles.
At all the points occupied, defensive works were being erected,
particularly at Monterey and San Francisco. At Yerba Buena,
settlers were establishing themselves, and all things wore the as
pect of a prosperous settlement.
On the 28th of August, Com. Stockton and Col. Fremont were
at Los Angeles, whence, early in September, Col. Fremont went
north with only forty men, intending to recruit and return imme
diately. Com. Stockton withdrew all his forces and proceeded
with the squadron to San Francisco.
Capt. Gillespie was left in command of the Pueblo de los An
geles, with about thirty riflemen, and Lieut. Talbot in command at
Santa Barbara, with only nine men.
Scarcely had Com. Stockton arrived at San Francisco, when he
received information that all the country below Monterey was in
arms, and the Mexican flag again hoisted.
Our limits do not permit of other than a brief sketch of this
contest. Briefly, the Californians rebelled and invested, on the
23d of September, the "City of the Angels," where Capt. Gilles
pie, finding himself and his very few men overpowered by full
300 Californians, capitulated on the 30th following. He thence
retired with all the foreigners, aboard the sloop of war, &c., lying
at San Pedro, and sailed to Monterey.
Manual Gaspar then marched to Santa Barbara, and summoned
Lieut. Talbot to surrender ; this he refused, but marched out with
his nine men, arms in hand. (As belonging to Col. Fremont's
command, Lieut. Talbot is deservedly mentioned in another
Com. Stockton sent down, from San Francisco, the frigate Sa-
128 CALIFORNIANS DEFEATED.
vannah to relieve the Pueblo de los Angeles, but she arrived a
few days after the above events. Our eager tars lost no time,
however, and her crew, numbering 320 men, were landed to
march to Los Angeles. They met the Californians on a plain
near Domingo's Rancho about half-way from San Pedro and Los
Angeles distant about fifteen miles from the ship. The enemy,
mounted on fine horses and with artillery, had every advantage
over our brave sailors, who, on foot, and with small arms
alone, were forced to retreat with the loss of five killed, and six
Com. Stockton himself came down in the Congress to San
Pedro, whence he took up his march for the "City of the An
gels," dragging up, by hand, six of the ship's guns, (for the Cali
fornians had driven off every animal.) At the Rancho Sepulvida,
they met a large force of the enemy ; when, sending 100 men in
advance to receive the fire of the Californians, and to fall back on
the main body without returning it, Com. Stockton thus decoyed
the enemy close up to the main body, formed in a triangle, with
the guns hid by the men, and loaded with grape and canister,
when the wings were extended, and a most deadly fire opened, by
which more than 100 were killed, and more than that number
wounded, and the enemy routed, leaving about 100 prisoners,
many of whom, thus captured, were at the time on parol, and had
before ^signed an obligation not to take up arms during the war.
Their subsequent disposition will be seen elsewhere.
As rapidly as possible, Com. Stockton mounted his men and
organized his forces for operations on shore. All the horses were
thus taken by one party or the other from the purposes of agricul
ture ; in fact, the emigrants were all more or less enrolled and en
gaged in the contest which was waged in series of skirmishes
until January, 1847, when the war was put an end to by a deci
Of the efficient and gallant co-operation of Col. Fremont in
almost all these, and other important events, we have had to tell
Meanwhile, individual feats of gallantry, a characteristic cou-
SETTLEMENT OF THE EMIGRANTS. 129
rage, activity, and ardour, strongly marked all the operations of
our sailors in their novel position ashore.
The fleet had cruised actively along the whole western coast of
Mexico, blockading all her ports. Guayamas had been taken by
bombardment. Commander Dupont, in the Cyane, had taken four
teen prizes, &c., and had captured, at San Bias, many guns.
Lieut. Radford, in command of the boats of the Warren, had gal
lantly cut out of the harbour of Mazatlan, the Mexican vessel of
war Malek-Abdel, and various other achievements had signalized
Busy settlements were being formed by emigrants, of whom
numbers arrived, and who, marching in arms through the country,
acquired, at least, a knowledge of its real value and resources.
On the bay of San Francisco, several towns were located.
Yerba Buena, in rivalry with Monterey, was rapidly becoming an
important place ; lots, squares, &c., were laid out, and a newspaper
established by the leader of the Mormon emigrants, S. Brannon,
Esq., entitled " The California Star."
It is to be remembered that our gallant tars carried on this con
test up to this time, almost entirely without the means of transpor
tation, whereby they could " meet the enemy," while the Cali-
fornians were mounted on fine horses, and the best riders in the
world, and could thus choose their own time, place, and distance
This warfare was kept up, principally, south of Monterey, and
continued until the arrival of Gen. Kearny, when the brilliant
events which led to the final conquest of California took place, and
are thus described by Com. Stockton :
HEAD-atTARTERS, CuiDAD DE LOS ANGELES,
January 11, 1847.
SIR : I have the honour to inform you that it has pleased God to
crown our poor efforts to put down the rebellion, and to retrieve the
credit of our arms, with the most complete success. The insur
gents determined, with their whole force, to meet us on our march
from San Diego to this place, and to decide the fate of the territory
by a general battle.
130 BATTLE OF SAN GABRIEL.
Having made the best preparation I could, in the face of a boast
ing and vigilant enemy, we left San Diego on the 29th day of De
cember, (that portion of the insurgent army who had been watch
ing and annoying us, having left to join the main body,) with about
six hundred fighting men, composed of detachments from the ships
Congress, Savannah, Portsmouth, and Cyane, aided by Gen. Kearny,
with a detachment of sixty men on foot, from the First Regi
ment of United States Dragoons, and by Capt. Gillespie, with sixty
We marched nearly one hundred and forty miles in ten days,
and found the rebels, on the 8th day of January, in a strong posi
tion, on the high bank of the " Rio San Gabriel," with six hun
dred mounted men and four pieces of artillery, prepared to dispute
our passage across the river.
We waded through the water dragging our guns after us against
the galling fire of the enemy, without exchanging a shot until we
reached the opposite shore, when the fight became general, and
our troops having repelled a charge of the enemy, charged up
the bank in a most gallant manner, and gained a complete victory
over the insurgent army.
The next day, on our march across the plains of the " Mesa" to
this place, the insurgents made another desperate effort to save the
capital and their own necks ; they were concealed with their artil
lery in a ravine until we came within gun-shot, when they opened
a brisk fire from their field-pieces on our right flank, and at the same
time charged both on our front and rear. We soon silenced their
guns, and repelled the charge, when they fled, and permitted us the
next morning to march into town without any further opposition.
We have rescued the country from the hands of the insurgents,
but I fear that the absence of Col. Fremont's battalion of mounted
riflemen will enable most of the Mexican officers, who have broken
their parole, to escape to Sonora.
I am happy to say that our loss in killed and wounded does not
exceed twenty, whilst we are informed that the enemy has lost
between seventy and eighty.
This despatch must go immediately, and I will wait another
GEN. FLORES' LETTER. 131
opportunity to furnish you with the details of these two battles,
and the gallant conduct of the officers and men under my com
mand, with their names.
Faithfully, your obedient servant,
R. F. STOCKTON, Commodore, #c.
To the Hon. GEORGE BANCROFT,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
P. S. Enclosed I have the honour to send to you a translation of
the letter handed to me by the commissioners mentioned in another
part of this despatch, sent by Jose Ma. Flores, to negotiate peace
honourable to both nations. The verbal answer, stated in another
page of this letter, was sent to this renowned general and com-
mander-in-chief. He had violated his honour, and I would not
treat with him nor write to him.
Gen. Flores' letter is here given :
Civil and Military government of the department of California.
The undersigned, governor and commandant-general of the
department and commander-in-chief of the national troops, has the
honour to address himself to the commander-in-chief of the naval
and land forces of the United States of North America, to say that
he has been informed by persons worthy of credit, that it is proba
ble at this time the differences which have altered the relations of
friendship between the Mexican republic and that of the United
States of North America have ceased, and that you looked for the
news of the arrangement between the two governments by the
schooner Shark, expected every moment on this coast.
A number of days have elapsed since the undersigned was invited
by several foreign gentlemen settled in the country, to enter into a
communication with you, they acting as mediators, to obtain an
honourable adjustment for both forces, in consequence of the evils
which all feel are caused by the unjust war you wage ; but the
duty of the undersigned prohibited him from doing so, and ;f to-day
he steps beyond the limits marked out by it, it is with the confi
dence inspired by the hope there exists a definitive arrangement
132 PROPOSALS FOR PEACE.
between the two nations ; for the undersigned being animated with
the strongest wishes for the return of peace, it would be most pain
ful to him not to have taken the means to avoid the useless effu
sion of human blood and its terrible consequences, during moments
when the general peace might have been secured.
The undersigned flatters himself with this hope, and for that
reason has thought it opportune to direct to you this note, which
will be placed in your hands by Messrs. Julian Workman and
Charles Fluge, who have voluntarily offered themselves to act as
mediators. But if, unfortunately, the mentioned news should prove
untrue, and you should not be disposed to grant a truce, to the
evils under which this unfortunate country suffers, of which you
alone are the cause, may the terrible consequences of your want
of consideration fall on your head. The citizens, all of whom
compose the national forces of this department, are decided firmly
to bury themselves under the ruins of their country, combating to
the last moment before consenting to the tyranny and ominous
discretionary power of the agents of the government of the United
States of North America.
This is no problem ; different deeds of arms prove that they
know how to defend their rights on the field of battle.
The undersigned still confides you will give a satisfactory solu
tion to this affair, and in the mean time has the honour of offering
to you the assurance of his consideration and private esteem.
God and Liberty ! JOSE MA. FLORES.
HEAD-QUARTERS AT THE ANGELES, Jan. 1, 1847.
HEAD-Q.UAIITEHS, CUIDAD DE LOS ANGELES,
Jan. 11, 1847.
The commander-in-chief congratulates the officers and men of
the southern division of the United States forces in California on
the brilliant victories obtained by them over the enemy on the 8th
and 9th inst., and on once more taking possession of the "Cuidad
de los Angeles."
He takes the earliest moment to commend their gallantry and
JOSE MA. FLORES. 133
good conduct both in the battle fought on the 8th, on the banks of
the "Rio San Gabriel," and on the 9th inst. on the plains of the
The steady courage of the troops in forcing their passage across
the "Rio San Gabriel," where officers and men were alike em
ployed in dragging the guns through the water against the galling
fire of the enemy, without exchanging a shot, and their gallant
charge up the banks against the enemy's cavalry, has perhaps
never been surpassed ; and the cool determination with which, in
the battle of the 9th, they repulsed the charge of cavalry made by
the enemy at the same time on their front and rear, has extorted
the admiration of the enemy, and deserves the best thanks of their
countrymen. R. F. STOCKTON,
Governor and Commander-in-chief of the territory of California.
On the 14th, Col. Fremont had arrived, and Com. Stockton
wrote as follows :
HEAD-Q.UAHTEIIS, CuiDAi) BE LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15, 1847
SIR : Referring to my letter of the llth, I have the honour to
inform you of the arrival of Lieutenant-colonel Fremont at this
place, with 400 men that some of the insurgents have made their
escape to Sonora, and that the rest have surrendered to our arms.
Immediately after the battles of the 8th and 9th, they began to
disperse ; and I am sorry to say that their leader, Jose Ma. Flores,
made his escape, and that the others have been pardoned by a
capitulation agreed upon by Lieutenant-colonel Fremont.
Jose Ma. Flores, the commander of the insurgent forces, two or
three days previous to the 8th, sent two commissioners with a flag
of truce to my camp, to make "a treaty of peace." I informed
the commissioners that I could not recognise Jose Ma. Flores, who
had broken his parole, as an honourable man, or as one having any
rightful authority, or worthy to be treated with that he was a
rebel in arms, and if I caught him I would have him shot. It
seems that not being able to negotiate with me, and having lost
the battles of the 8th and 9th, they met Col. Fremont on the 12th
134 CAPITULATES TO COL. FREMONT.
instant, on his way here, who, not knowing what had occurred, he
entered into the capitulation with them, which I now send to you;
and, although I refused to do it myself, still I have thought it best
to approve it.
The territory of California is again tranquil, and the civil go
vernment formed by me is again in operation in the places where
it was interrupted by the insurgents.
Col. Fremont has 500 men in his battalion, which will be quite
sufficient to preserve the peace of the territory ; and I will im
mediately withdraw my sailors and marines, and sail as soon as
possible for the coast of Mexico, where I hope they will give a
good account of themselves,
Faithfully, your obedient servant, R. F. STOCKTON,
To the Hon. GEORGE BANCROFT,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
A more detailed narrative of Col. Fremont's action in the matter
of the capitulation given below, will be found in the chapter which
separately relates his gallant enterprises.
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting :
Know ye that, in consequence of propositions of peace or cessa
tion of hostilities being submitted to me as commandant of the
California battalion of United States forces, which has so far been
acceded to by me, as to cause me to appoint a board of commis
sioners to consult with a similar board appointed by the Califor-
nians ; and it requiring a little time to close the negotiations, it is
agreed upon and ordered by me, that an entire cessation of hostili
ties shall take place until to-morrow afternoon, (January 13th,)
and that the said Californians be permitted to bring in their
wounded to the mission of San Fernandez, where also, if they
choose, they can remove their camp, to facilitate said negotiations.
Given under my hand and seal, this 12th day of January, 1847.
J. C. FREMONT,
Lieut. Col. U. S. A., and Military Commandant, California.
ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION. 135
Articles of capitulation made and entered into at the Ranch of
Cowanga, this thirteenth day of January, anno Domini eighteen
hundred and forty-seven, between P. B.- Reading, major, Louis
McLane, jr., commanding artillery, Wm. H. Russell, ordinance
officer, commissioners appointed by J. C. Fremont, lieutenant-
colonel United States army, and military commandant of the
Territory of California, and Jose Antonio Carrillo, commandant
Esquadron, Agustine Olvera, deputado, commissioners appointed
by Don Andres Pico, commander-in-chief of the Californian forces
under the Mexican flag :
Art. 1. The commissioners on the part of the Californians agree
that their entire force shall, on presentation of themselves to Lieut.
Col. Fremont, deliver up their artillery and public arms, and that
they shall return peaceably to their homes, conforming to the laws
and regulations of the United States, and not again take up arms
during the war between the United States and Mexico, but will
assist and aid in placing the country in a state of peace and tran
Art. 2. The commissioners on the part of Lieut. Col. Fremont
agree and bind themselves on the fulfilment of the 1st article by
the Californians, that they shall be guarantied protection of life
and property whether on parol or otherwise.
Art. 3. That until a treaty of peace be made and signed be
tween the United States of North America and the republic of
Mexico, no Californian or other Mexican citizen shall be bound to
take the oath of allegiance.
Art. 4. That any Californian or other citizen of Mexico desiring,
is permitted by this capitulation to leave the country without let or
Art. 5. That in virtue of the aforesaid articles, equal rights
and privileges are vouchsafed to every citizen of California as are
enjoyed by the citizens of the United States of North America.
Art. 6. All officers, citizens, foreigners, or others, shall receive
the protection guarantied by the 2d article.
136 ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION.
Art. 7. This capitulation is intended to be no bar in effecting
such arrangements as may in future be in justice required by both
P. B. READING,
Major California Battalion.
WM. H. RUSSELL,
Ord. officer of California Bat.
LOUIS McLANE, Jr. V'-'
CommcTg Art., California Bat.
JOSE ANTO. CARRILLO,
Commandants de Escuadron.
Approved: J. C. FREMONT,
Lt. Col. U. S. A., and Ml. Com. of California.
Aprobado: ANDRES PICO,
Com. de Escuadron en gefe de lasfuerzas nacionales
That the paroles of all officers, citizens, and others of the
United States, and of naturalized citizens of Mexico, are by this
foregoing capitulation cancelled, and every condition of said
paroles from and after this date are of no farther force and effect,
and all prisoners of both parties are hereby released.
CUIDAD DE LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16, 1847.
P. B. READING,
Major California Battalion.
LOUIS McLANE, Jr.
Commd'g Art. California Bat.
WM. H. RUSSELL,
Ord. officer of California Bat.
JOSE ANTO. CARRILLO,
Commandante de Escuadron.
GENERAL ORDERS OF COM. SHUBRICK. 137
Approved: J. C. FREMONT,
Lt. Col. U. S. A., and Mil. Com. of California.
Aprobado: ANDRES PICO.
Com. de Escuadron en gefe de lasfuerzas nacionales
It was here, at the meeting of Com. Stockton and Gen. Kearny,
and of Fremont, that misunderstandings as to prerogatives arose.
Gen. Flores fled to Sonora, with some of his officers, and vio
lent measures were not used towards the rest.
On the 23d of January, 1847, the Independence, Com. W. B.
Shubrick, arrived at Monterey, when,* in virtue of his rank, he
took command of all the naval forces, and on the 1st of February
issued the following " general order :"
" The commander-in-chief has great satisfaction in announcing
to the inhabitants of Monterey, that from information received from
various sources, he has reason to believe that the disorders which
have recently disturbed the territory of California are at an end,
and that peace and security are restored to this district certainly,
and he hopes to the whole territory.
" The improved state of affairs in the district, and the arrival of
a company of United States artillery under Capt. Tompkins, has
enabled the commander-in-chief to dispense with the services of
the company of mounted volunteers, under Lieut. Maddox of the
marine corps. The patriotic settlers who composed this company,
nobly stepped forward in time of danger, and stood between the
flag of the United States, and the defenceless women and children
of Monterey on the one hand, and the bands of lawless disturbers
of the peace on the other.
" For such disinterested conduct, the company of mounted vo
lunteers, under Lieut. Maddox, of the marine corps, (acting as
captain,) is tendered the thanks of the commander-in-chief, and
will, without doubt, receive commendation and due recompense
from the general government.
* Appendix, No. 12.
138 GENERAL ORDERS OF COM. SHUBRICK.
" Given on board the United States ship Independence, Harbour
"W. BRANDFORD SHUBRICK,
Commander-in-chief. ' '
February 1, 1847.
The Lexington, loaded with twenty-four-pounders, mortars, &c.,
had arrived, and three other transports, with Col. Stevenson's regi
ment, were shortly expected, at the time of this order.
On the 8th of February, the United States sloop of war, Cyane,
arrived in port, and fired the appropriate salute for Com. Shubrick,
and, Gen. Kearny being on board, the Cyane received a salute
from the Independence.
On the llth, the following was issued :
To all whom it may concern : The undersigned, commander-
in-chief of the naval forces of the United States in the Pacific
ocean, in virtue of the authority vested in him by the President
of the United States, and taking into consideration the injury
caused to the agricultural pursuits of the inhabitants of California,
by the late unsettled state of the country, the great demand at
present for all articles of provisions, and the probable increase of
that demand, directs that for the space of six months from the first
of March next, viz. : from the 1st of said month of March, to the
1st of the month of September next, the following articles of pro
visions shall be admitted into the ports of California, free of all
charge of duty, viz. : beef, pork, bread, flour, butter, cheese, sugar
Done, &c., llth of February, 1847.
W. BRANDFORD SHUBRICK,
About the 1st of March, 1847, Com. Biddle arrived in the
United States frigate Columbus, from the China seas, and became,
in virtue of his rank, commander-in-chief.
The squadron had, as before, been actively engaged in enforcing
rigid blockades. The Portsmouth had been employed in taking
DIVISION OF AUTHORITY. 139
possession of the towns in Lower California, on the Gulf, but at no
place was there the means of making resistance to our flag.
On the arrival of Com. Biddle, it became known that Com. Shu-
brick would retain command of the northern Pacific squadron,
and Com. Biddle to come home in July, and that Gen. Kearny
would become the governor of California.
The assignment of their respective duties will be seen by the
following joint announcement :
To all whom it may concern, be it known That the Pre
sident of the United States, desirous to give and secure to the
people of California a share of the good government and happy
civil organization enjoyed by the people of the United States,
and to protect them at the same time from the attacks of fo
reign foes, and from internal commotions, has invested the un
dersigned with separate and distinct powers, civil and military ; a
cordial co-operation in the exercise of which, it is hoped and be
lieved, will have the happy results desired.
To the commander-in-chief of the naval forces, the President
has assigned the regulation of the import trade, with conditions on
which vessels of all nations (our own as well as foreign) may be
admitted into the ports of the territory, and the establishment of
all port regulations.
To the commanding military officer, the President has assigned
the direction of the operations on land, and has invested him with
administrative functions of government over the people and terri
tory occupied by the forces of the United States.
Done at Monterey, capital of California, this 1st day of March,
A. D. 1847.
W. BRANDFORD SHUBRICK,
Commander-in-chief of the Naval Forces.
S. W. KEARNY,
Brig. Gen. U. S. A. and Governor of California.
Monterey was fixed upon by Gen. Kearny and Com.,Shubrick
as the temporary seat of government.
140 SEC. MASON'S INSTRUCTIONS.
On the 19th of Dec. 1846, John Y. Mason, then Secretary of
the Navy, wrote as follows :
" In my despatch of November 5th last, Com. Stockton was re
quired to relinquish the conduct of operations on land, and the
control of such measures of civil government as the military occu
pation of the country conquered might devolve on the conqueror,
until a definitive treaty of peace should settle the right of posses
sion to the officer in command of the land forces of the United
States, who, in company with the bearer of my despatch, proceeded
to the west coast to assume the command.
" There has been no approval or recognition of any organized
or established form of civil government for the Californias, or any
other Mexican territory in the occupation of the naval forces,
through this department. The instructions have been confined to
the acknowledged rights, under the laws of nations, resulting from
conquest and occupation; and the corresponding duties which the
conqueror owed temporarily to the inhabitants have been performed
in a spirit of kindness and conciliation, and in the only particulars
embraced by the instructions from this department, of liberality
to the commercial interests of citizens of the United States and
Col. Richard B. Mason, of the First regiment of Dragoons, was
the officer alluded to. It will be seen in another chapter, that he
left the seat of government on the 7th of November, 1846, for
Upper California, by way of Chagres and Panama. On the 1st
of June, 1847, he was acting as "governor and commander-in-
chief of the land forces in California, at Monterey;" Gen. Kearny
having left that place on the 31st preceding, for the United States,
reached Washington city, after a short visit to his family at St.
Louis, on the 10th of September, 1847.
Col. Fremont accompanied Gen. Kearny as far as Fort Leaven-
worth. Com. Stockton was to leave California for the United
States, about the 17th of July, and Com. Ap. C. Jones relieves
Our flag again, by the united efforts- of our soldiers and of our
sailors, now covers the "farthest west," from 32 to 49 degrees of
THE UNITED SERVICE. 141
north latitude ; and if there has been any differences among com
manders as to rank and command, it is idle (and certainly no part
of the plan of this compilation) to discuss the glory of this or that
branch of the service or of this or that commanding officer. To
use the language of the official organ of the government " They
have all been distinguished our troops and our sailors have all
proved themselves, in whatever position they were placed, worthy
of upholding the eagles of the republic."
142 CAPT. JOHN C. FREMONT.
Unexpected and gallant movement J. Charles Fremont Scientific explora
tion Gen. Castro threatens American flag hoisted United States Consul,
T. O. Larkin, Esq. Correspondence Fremont's note Withdraws The
country raised Attacked by Tlamath Indians Determination Capture of
Castro's horses Sonoma surprised and taken Prisoners Fights de la Torre
Men cut to pieces alive Mexicans shot Declaration of Independence and
War Com. Sloat Pursues Castro Ordered to Monterey Com. Stockton
in command Major of California Mounted Riflemen Embarks for San
Diego Joins Com. Stockton's forces Occupation of " City of the Angels"
Again pursues Castro Capt. Gillespie Com. Stockton appoints Fremont
Governor Lieut. Talbot Com. Stockton officially announces the capture
of California Californians revolt Los Angeles and Santa Barbara evacu
ated Fremont March on Los Angeles Captures and pardons Don J. Pico
Capitulation Previous Battles of Gen. Kearny and Com. Stockton Com.
Stockton's Despatches Meeting of Fremont, Stockton and Kearny Sepa
rate Fremont Governor and Commander-in-chief His Circular Kit Car
son Interviews with Com. Shubrick, and Gen. Kearny Adheres to his posi
tion Fremont returns to the United States.
CONTEMPORANEOUS with the military combinations already de
tailed, a movement, as remarkable and unexpected as prompt and
gallant, mingled with the concentration of forces directed against
California, and, in some measure, anticipated their results.
There was a young and talented officer of United States Topo
graphical Engineers who had served as principal assistant, before
entering the army, to the celebrated Nicollet, (pre-eminent as an
astronomer, mathematician and man of science, and whom rivalry
with the illustrious Arago had driven from France to become a
citizen of the United States,) in his explorations, by order of the
government, of the wild west and Rocky Mountains who had
been commissioned, in 1838, a lieutenant while in the wilderness,
thus occupied, and suffering the utmost hardships and privations,
and who, when this country and the scientific world sustained a
heavy loss by the death of Nicollet in 1843, had been deemed
worthy to continue these important explorations.
OBJECT OF COL. FREMONT'S EXPLORATIONS. 143
Young, ambitious, and, though not robust in appearance, yet
of vigorous health, John Charles Fremont had, in command of two
scientific expeditions to the Rocky Mountains in 1842, and to
Oregon and North California in 1843-4 accomplished a reputation
seldom acquired at his years. As an evidence of the estimate
which the government had placed upon his services and labours,
the commission of brevet-captain was conferred on him by the
President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, thus
advancing him two grades at the same time an unusual and rare,
but deserved compliment.
Capt. Fremont (on the organization of the Mounted Rifle Regi
ment, 27th May, 1846, made lieutenant-colonel thereof) once more
left the seat of government to pursue his explorations in the regions
beyond the Rocky Mountains. The orders of the War Depart
ment, and the objects of this service were, as before, of a scientific
character, without any view whatever to military occupation. No
officer or soldier of the United States army accompanied him ; and
his whole force consisted of 62 men, engaged by himself as security
against Indians, and to procure subsistence in the wilderness
through which he was to pass. One of the objects in view was to
discover a new and shorter route from the western base of the
Rocky Mountains to the mouth of the Columbia river. This
search would carry him, for a part of the distance, through the
unsettled, and afterwards through a corner of the settled part of
California. With a full knowledge of the political as well as the
personal difficulties of the enterprise, Capt. Fremont's private
views and feelings were in unison with his ostensible mission the
dominant passion of his soul being the pursuit of science, he looked
with dread and aversion upon any possible collision with either
[ndians, Mexicans, or British.
At the time of his departure from the United States, he knew
well our difficulties with Mexico and Great Britain, and that jea
lousy would attach to his movements in going through the territo
ries of the one, and the settlements of the other ; he was perfectly
determined, therefore, to use the utmost circumspection in all his
conduct, confining himself wholly to his scientific pursuits, and
144 THREATENINGS OF GOV. CASTRO.
carefully avoiding as well the appearance as the reality of either a
political or military mission.
He approached these settlements in the winter of 1845-6, and,
that he might give no cause of offence to the authorities of Cali
fornia, with commendable and pre-determined prudence, he left
his men upon the frontier, a hundred miles from Monterey, and
went alone to that city to explain, to the Commandant-general of
Upper California, Don Jose Castro, his objects and wishes in per
son. This he did in the most formal and respectful manner, in
company with the United States Consul, T. O. Larkin, Esq., and
received from Gov. Castro leave to winter in the valley of the San
Joaquin, where there was game for his men, and grass for his
horses ; yet scarcely had he reached the spot desired for refresh
ment and repose, before he received information from the American
settlements, and by expresses from the United States Consul at
Monterey, that Gen. Castro was preparing to attack him with a
comparatively large force of artillery, cavalry and infantry, upon
the pretext that, under cover of a scientific mission, he was exciting
the American settlers to revolt. In view of this danger, and to be
in a condition to repel an assault, he took a position on a mountain
overlooking Monterey, at a distance of about thirty miles, intrenched
it, raised the flag of the United States, and with his own men,
sixty-two in number, awaited the approach of the commandant-
Of the events of these days, no official despatches from Capt.
Fremont have been published, yet they are well supplied by the
official communications from the American consul at Monterey, to
cur Secretary of State, and by Capt. Fremont's brief note to the
consul, while expecting the attack of Gov. Castro.
Of these our limits will preclude our giving but a portion. On
the 9th of March, 1846, T. O. Larkin, United States consul at
Monterey, writes the Secretary of State : ** In the month of Feb
ruary, Capt. Fremont, in my company, visited the general, pre>-
fecto, and alcalde of this place, and informed them of his business ;
and there was no objection made. Within twenty days, the gene
ral says he has received direct and specific orders from Mexico
CAPT. FREMONT ORDERED OUT OF THE COUNTRY. 145
not to allow Capt. Fremont to enter California ; which, perhaps,
accounts for the change of feelings with the people."
While the latest and most graphic are the following :
CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Monterey, March 27, 1846.
SIR: Capt. J. C. Fremont, of the United States army, arrived
at this United States consular-house in Monterey, on the 27th of
January, 1846. Being very anxious to join his party of fifty men
at the second place of rendezvous, without the settlement, they
having missed the first place by mistake, he remained but two
days, in which time, with myself, he visited the commandant-
general, prefecto, alcalde, and Col. Alvarado, informing them that
he was surveying the nearest route from the United States to the
Pacific ocean. This information, and that his men were not United
States soldiers, was also, by myself, officially given to the prefecto.
Having obtained funds and supplies from myself, he returned to
his camp ; it being well known in Monterey, that he was to return
when he collected his men. Some fifteen or twenty days after
this, Capt. Fremont, with his party, encamped at a vacant rancho
belonging to Capt. Fisher, (about ninety miles from here,) to re
cruit his men and animals. From there, he proceeded towards
Santa Cruz, making short journeys. On the 3d of March, he
encamped on the rancho of Mr. E. P. Hartwell, where he received
letters from the general and prefecto, ordering him out of the
country, and to obey the order without any pretext whatever, or
immediate measures would be taken to compel him to do so. This,
not corresponding with assurances received at Monterey, it was
not answered, and he gave orders to hoist the United States flag
the next morning as the only protection his men was to look to.
From the 7th to the 10th of March, they fortified their camp with
a breastwork of logs. Encamped on a high hill, which com
manded a view of the surrounding country, they could see (with
the use of spy-glasses) the general and his troops, numbering
about two hundred men, at their camp, in the mission of.St. John's,
preparing their cannon. On the 9th instant, I sent duplicate let
ters one by an American, who lost his papers, and the other by
146 CAPT. FREMONT LEAVES HIS ENCAMPMENT.
a Californian, to Capt. Fremont, informing him of the movements
of the Californians. The California courier returned to the consu
late in about nine or ten hours, bringing a letter from Capt. Fre
mont, having travelled in that time sixty miles. He reported being
well treated by Capt. Fremont and his men ; and that two thou
sand of his countrymen would not be sufficient to compel him to
leave the country, although his party was so small. At the earnest
request of the alcalde, for a translation of Capt. Fremont's letter,
it was given, and immediately despatched to the general at St.
John's ; and one also to the governor of the Puebla of los Angeles.
The general informed the alcalde on the night of the 10th instant,
that Capt. Fremont had left his encampment, and that he (the
general) should pursue and attack him the first opportunity, and
chastise him for hoisting a foreign flag in California. In the post
script of the same letter, the general stated that Capt. Fremont
had crossed a small river, and was then about three miles distant
from them ; but the general made no preparation to follow him.
On the morning of the llth, Gen. Castro sent John Gilroy, an
Englishman, long resident in this country, to make offers of ar
rangement to Capt. Fremont. On his arrival at the camp-ground,
he found Capt. Fremont had left with his party that morning ; the
camp fires were still burning. He found in the camp the staff
used for the flag, tent poles, (cut on the spot,) some old clothes,
and two old and useless pack-saddles, which the Californians have
magnified into munitions of war. Gen. Castro informed his party
that he had received various messages from the camp of Capt.
Fremont, threatening to exterminate the Californians, &c., (but
will hardly name his messengers, nor did they put any confidence
in it themselves.) From the llth to the 13th, the natives had re
turned to their respective homes, to resume their customary occu
pations. A few people that were ordered to march from San
Francisco to join the general at his camp, returned to their homes.
On the 12th, a proclamation was put up by the general, in the
billiard-room, (not the usual place,) informing the inhabitants that
a band of highwaymen, (" bandoleros") under Capt. Fremont, of
the United States army, had come within the towns of this depart-
CHARGES AGAINST HIS MEN. 147
merit ; and that he, with two hundred patriots, had driven them
out, and sent them into the back country. " Some of the officers
of the two hundred patriots (and more were expected to join them)
arrived in Monterey, and reported that the cowards had run, and
that they had driven them to the Sacramento river ; some added
that they drove them into the bulrushes, on the plains of the Sa
cramento ; and that, in their haste, they had left some of their best
horses behind. The horses proved to be those belonging to the
Californians themselves, and had strayed into Capt. Fremont's
band, (being an e very-day occurrence in California ;) and, on rais
ing camp, they were turned out and left behind. Instead of the
Americans being driven out of the country, they travelled less
distance, for three or four days, than the natives did in returning
to Monterey moving from four to six miles per day, in order to
recruit. One of the complaints made by the* general was, that
three men, when drinking, went to the house of Angel Castro (an
uncle of the general) to purchase some beef for the camp, and
insulted his family. On the /7th, I personally called upon Don
Angel, for the truth of the story, and was informed by him (the
father himself) that he was frightened by one of the Americans
insisting on his daughter drinking with him. On ordering him to
leave the house, he resisted, but was put out by his own compa
nions, he drawing a pistol while they were putting him out. Don
Angel mounted a horse, and rode off to Capt. Fremont's, about
one mile distant, who, on hearing the case, came to the house im
mediately, and called up the family to inquire into the affair. On
the examination, he asked the father what he should do with the
men. He requested them to be punished, which was promised ;
and was told, if he would send a boy, a fine of five dollars should
be sent to him, (he being alcalde.) The boy returned with ten
dollars from the camp, which settled the business, although there
had been nothing of consequence transacted ; yet Capt. Fremont
was anxious not to let the people of the country have any cause
of complaint against him.
The undersigned has the honour to subscribe himself, your most
obedient servant, THOMAS O. LARKIN.
To the Hon. SECRETARY OF STATE, City of Washington.
148 PACIFIC CONDUCT OF CAPT. FREMONT.
CONSULATE Or THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Monterey, Jpril 2, 1846.
SIR: In giving my first information to the department respect
ing Capt. Fremont's arrival in California,! did not anticipate such
an extensive correspondence as it has now reached. Capt. Fre
mont was well received in this place, and to the last day we heard
of him, by the natives individually, who sold him provisions, and
liked his presence. During his encampment, thirty or forty miles
from here, despatches were received by the commandant, Gen.
Jose Castro, (a native of Monterey,) from Mexico, ordering him to
drive Capt. Fremont out of this department ; which order, with
one hundred and seventy or two hundred men present, and over
one hundred more daily expected, he pretended to execute. Capt.
Fremont left his camp a few hours after he received the under
signed's letter of "the 9th of March, (not from fright of Gen. Cas
tro,) as he had been preparing the week before to travel. It is
supposed he has gone to St. Barbara, where an American was
sent by the undersigned, in February, with funds and provisions
for his use. From there he proceeds on his journey, according to
his instructions from his department in Washington. Although
from the correspondence it may appear that in the centre of a strange
country, among a whole people, with real or apparent hostile in
tentions towards him, Capt. Fremont was in much danger, it can
be believed that he was only annoyed. Whether he will visit
Monterey, after this unexpected affair, or not, is uncertain.
The undersigned has not supposed, during the whole affair, that
Gen. Castro wished to go after Capt. Fremont ; and was very con
fident that, with all California, he would not have attacked him,
even had he been sure of destroying the whole party, as five times
their number could have taken their place before the expected
battle. Capt. Fremont received verbal applications from English
and Americans to join his party, and could have mustered as many
men as the natives. He was careful not to do so. Although he
discharged five or six of his men, he took no others in their place.
On the return of Gen. Castro, he published a flaming proclamation
to the citizens, informing them that a band of bandoleros, (high-
OBSERVATIONS OF MR. LARKIN. 149
waymen or freebooters,) under Capt. Fremont of the United States
army, had come into this district ; but with the company of two
hundred patriots he had driven them away, and exhorted his com
panions and countrymen to be always ready to repel others of the
same class. This proclamation was missing from the place where
it was put up on the third day.
The undersigned has written to the general for a copy. To this
day there has been no answer received. Duplicate copies of con
sular letters to Capt. Fremont, are in the hands of Gen. Castro, he
having taken them from one of the consular's couriers, promising
to forward them as directed. These copies he promised to return,
but has not done so. This government is about sending a com
missioner to Mexico, (as the undersigned believes,) to report the
country in danger of revolution from the Americans. By this we
understand in California, (foreigners,) that some Americans (who
left Capt. Fremont) are joining the Indians to attack the farms, and
others were about to take possession of a town in the upper part
of the bay of San Francisco ; and that Sen. W. Hastings (author
of the History of California) is laying off a town at New Helvetia,
for the Mormons. None of this information, (in the opinion of the
undersigned can be relied upon,) is to be given to the President to
urge upon him the necessity of giving Gen. Castro two hundred
men, (he prefers not many men, nor any Mexican general,) with
sufficient funds to protect the country. As a general thing, Has-
tings's book is very untrue and absurd. He brought a number to
this country, which do his countrymen no good, and perhaps injure
them. No general English reader will read one quarter of the
book. The arrival of Capt. Fremont has revived the excitement
in California respecting the emigration, and the fears of the Cali-
fornians losing their country. The undersigned believes that if a
new flag was respectfully planted, it would receive the good will
of much of the wealth and respectability of the country. Those
who live by office, and the absence of law, would faintly struggle
against a change. Many natives and foreigners of wealth and pur
suits, are already calculating on the hopes, fears, and expectations
150 WHY CAPT. FREMONT FORTIFIED HIS CAMP.
from the apparent coming change now before them, from the great
influx of strangers.
In the mean time, the undersigned has the pleasure of saying
that, with every department of office in this country, he is on the
best terms of friendship, as far as appearances are before him.
With the highest respect and esteem,
I am your obedient servant,
THOMAS O. LARKIN.
To the Hon. SECRETARY OF STATE, City of Washington.
It will be seen, in Gov. Castro's despatch, that Capt. Fremont
took a military position, intrenched it, and raised the American
flag ; but these events were the consequence and not the cause of
Gov. Castro's movement against him ; and this is fully shown in
the following brief spirited note, written in pencil, in answer to
the consul's warning, and after refusing the aid of the American
Note in pencil from Capt. Fremont to the consul Larkin,from his
intrenched camp at the Jllisal on the Sierra, thirty miles from
Monterey, March 10, 1846.
MY DEAR SIR: I this moment received your letters, and without
waiting to read them, acknowledge the receipt which the courier
requires immediately. I am making myself as strong as possible,
in the intention that if we are unjustly attacked we will fight to
extremity and refuse quarter, trusting to our country to avenge our
death. No one has reached our camp, and from the heights we
are able to see troops (with the glass) mustering at St. John's and
preparing cannon. I thank you for your kindness and good wishes,
and would write more at length as to my intentions, did I not fear
that my letter would be intercepted. We have in no wise done
wrong to the people or the authorities of the country, and if we
are hemmed in and assaulted here, we will die, every man of us,
under the flag of our country.
Very truly, yours,
J. C. FREMONT.
P. S. I am encamped on the top of the Sierra, at the head-
WITHDRAWS FROM CALIFORNIA. 151
waters of a stream which strikes the road to Monterey, at the house
of Don Joaquin Gomez. J. C. F.
THOMAS O. LARKIN, Esq.,
Consul for the United States, Monterey.
"The first letter" (and all the detail the public yet have) "that
we (says Senator Benton) received from Capt. Fremont, after his
withdrawal from the Sierra, and from the valley of the San Juan,
is dated the first day of April, in latitude 40, on the Sacramento
river ; and though written merely to inform Mrs. Fremont of his
personal concerns, becomes important in a public point of view on
account of subsequent events in June and July, by showing that
on the first of April he was on his way to Oregon that he had
abandoned all intention of returning through any part of California
would cross the Rocky Mountains through the Northern Pass,
on the line between the Upper, or Kettle Falls of the Columbia,
and the Great Falls of the Missouri and be in the United States
in September. This shows that he had, at that time, no idea of
the events in which he was subsequently involved, and that he had
abandoned the cherished field of his intended scientific researches
for the express purpose of avoiding all offence to the Mexican
authorities. Of the events in the valley of the San Joaquin and
the camp on the Sierra, he speaks a few words, without detail, but
descriptive of his condition, characteristic of his prudence in not
compromising his country, and worthy to be repeated in his own
language. He says : ' The Spaniards were somewhat rude and
inhospitable below, and ordered me out of the country after having
given me permission to winter there. My sense of duty did not
permit me to fight them, but we retired slowly and growlingly
before a force of three or four hundred men, and three pieces of
artillery. Without the shadow of a cause, the governor suddenly
raised the whole country against me, issuing a false and scandalous
proclamation. Of course, I did not dare to compromise the United
States, against which appearances would have been strong ; but
though it was in my power to increase my party by Americans, I
refrained from committing a solitary act of hostility or impropriety.'
152 ATTACK BY TLAMATH INDIANS.
His next letter is dated the 14th of May, and informs me that, in
his progress to Oregon, he found himself and party unexpectedly
attacked by the Tlamath Indians the most warlike of that quar
ter had lost five men in killed and wounded and still expected
to be in the United States in the month of September."
All the information in continuance of the narrative, is contained
in a letter from Capt. Fremont to Senator Benton, dated "Mission
of Carmel, July 25, 1846." (The Mission of Carmel is three
miles south of Monterey, Upper California.) The substance is
given by Senator Benton, thus :
"At the middle of May, Capt. Fremont, in pursuance of his
design to reach Oregon, and return by the Columbia and Missouri
through the Northern Pass in the Rocky Mountains, had arrived
at the great Tlamath Lake, in the edge of the Oregon Territory,
when he found his further progress completely barred by the
double obstacle of hostile Indians, which Castro had excited
against him, and the lofty mountains, covered with deep and fall
ing snows, which made the middle of May in that elevated region
the same as the middle of winter. These were the difficulties
and dangers in front. Behind, and on the north bank of the San
Francisco Bay, at the military post of Sonoma, was Gen. Castro
assembling troops with the avowed intention of attacking both
Fremont's party, and all the American settlers, against whom the
Indians had been already excited. Thus, his passage barred in
front by impassable snows and mountains hemmed in by savage
Indians, who were thinning the ranks of his little party menaced
by a general at the head of tenfold forces of all arms the Ame
rican settlers in California marked out for destruction on a false
accusation of meditating a revolt under his instigation his men
and horses suffering from fatigue, cold, and famine and after the
most anxious deliberation upon all the dangers of his position, and
upon all the responsibilities of his conduct, Capt. Fremont deter
mined to turn upon his pursuers and fight them instantly, without
regard to numbers, and seek safety for his party and the Ameri
can settlers, by overturning the Mexican government in California.
It was on the 6th day of June that he came to this determination ;
CAPTURES CASTRO'S HORSES. 153
and, the resolution being once taken, all half-way measures were
discarded, and a rapid execution of the plan was commenced. On
the llth of June, a supply of 200 horses for Castro's troops on
the way to his camp, conducted by an officer and fourteen men,
were surprised at daylight, and the whole captured the men and
officer being released* and the horses retained for American use.
On the 15th, at daybreak, the military post of Sonoma, (the point
of rendezvous, and intended head-quarters) was surprised and
taken, with nine pieces of brass cannon, 250 stand of muskets, other
arms and ammunition, with several superior officers, Gen. Vallejo,
(Val-ya-ho,) his brother, Capt. Vallejo, Col. Greuxdon, and others;
all of whom were detained and confined as prisoners. Capt.
Fremont then repaired to the American settlements on the Rio de
los Americanos to obtain assistance; and receiving an express
from his little garrison of fourteen, in Sonoma, that Gen. Castro
was preparing to cross the Bay of San Francisco, and attack him
with a large force, he set out in the afternoon of the 23d of June,
with ninety mounted riflemen, and, travelling day and night, ar
rived at 2 o'clock in the morning of the 25th, at Sonoma eighty
miles' distance. The vanguard of Castro's force had crossed the
bay a squadron of seventy dragoons, commanded by De la
Torre which was attacked and defeated by twenty Americans,
with a loss of two killed and some wounded on the part of the
Mexicans, and no injury to themselves De la Torre barely escap
ing, with the loss of his transport boats, and spiking six pieces of
artillery. In the mean time, two of Capt. Fremont's men, going
as an .express, were captured by De la Torre's men, and, being
bound to' trees, were cut to pieces, alive, with knives ! in return
for which, three of De la Torre's men being taken were instantly
shot. The north side of the Bay of San Francisco was now
cleared of the enemy, and on the 4th day of July, Capt. Fremont
called the Americans together at Sonoma, addressed them upon
the dangers of their situation, and recommended a declaration of
independence, and war upon Castro and his troops, as the only
means of safety. The independence was immediately declared,
and the war proclaimed. A few days afterwards, an officer from
154 PURSUES GEN. CASTRO.
Com. Sloat brought intelligence that the American flag was hoisted
at Monterey an example which was immediately followed wher
ever the news flew. The pursuit and defeat of Castro was then
the only remaining enterprise. He had fled south, towards the
numerous Mexican towns and settlements beyond Monterey, with
his four or five hundred men ; and Capt. Fremont, leaving some
fifty men in garrisons, set out with 160 mounted riflemen in the pur
suit, when he received instructions from Com. Sloat to march upon
Monterey. He did so, and found Com. Stockton in command,
approving the pursuit of Castro, and aiding it by all the means in
his power. The sloop of war Cyane was put at his service.
Capt. Fremont, with 160 American riflemen and 70 marines,
embarked on that vessel, and sailed down the coast, on the 26th
of July, to San Diego, 400 miles south of Monterey, and 100
south of Pueblo de los Angeles, where Castro was understood to
be, with an increasing force of 500 men. The descent of the
coast as far as San Diego was with a view to get ahead of Castro,
and to be in a position either to intercept him if he fled south
to Mexico, or to Lower California, or to turn back upon him if he
remained in Pueblo de los Angeles, or any of the numerous towns
in its neighbourhood."
Com. Sloat had assigned the command of the Pacific squadron
to Com. R. F. Stockton, about the 19th of July, 1846. On the
day that the latter took the command as "Commander-in-chief, and
Governor of the Territory of California," he organized the "Cali
fornia Mounted Riflemen," with the men whom Fremont had
brought, and received them as Volunteers into the service of the
United States, appointing Capt. Fremont major, and Lieut. Gil-
lespie, of the Marine Corps, captain of the battalion.
The orders under which Capt. Fremont embarked for San
Diego were as follows :
UNITED STATES FRIGATE CONGRESS,
Monterey Bay, July 23, 1846.
SIR : You will please to embark on board the United States ship
Cyane, with the detachment of troops under your command, on
OCCUPATION OF THE CITY OF THE ANGELS. 155
The ship, at daylight, on Sunday morning, will sail for San
iDiego, where you will disembark your troops and procure horses
for them, and will make every necessary preparation to march
'through the country at a moment's notice from me.
You will endeavour to encamp so near San Diego as to have a
idaily communication with the Cyane, which will remain at anchor
there until you receive orders to march.
The object of this movement is to take, or get between the
Colorado and Gen. Castro.
I will leave Monterey in this ship for San Pedro, so as to ar
rive there about the time that you may be expected to have arrived
at San Diego.
I will despatch a courier to you from San Pedro, to inform you
of my movements.
Faithfully, your obedient servant,
R. F. STOCKTON,
Captain FREMONT, Commodore, fyc.
United States Army.
On the 29th he arrived at San Diego, where he was detained
by the difficulty of finding horses, the Californians having driven
off, and secreted, as far as possible, all their animals. Thus
Capt. Fremont was unable to move until the 8th of August, when
he started in pursuit of Castro who had fled from Com. Stockton's
forces at the "Camp of the Mesa." On the 13th both com
manders united their forces and entered the City of the Angels,
of which they took unmolested possession.
On the 16th, Fremont again set off in pursuit of Castro, who it
soon was found had succeeded in making his escape out of the
country, his principal officers separating in different parties.
These were most of them taken, and brought to the "City of the
Angels," whither Fremont returned by the 28th.
Early in September, 1846, Com. Stockton, having determined
to keep the California battalion of mounted riflemen in the service
of the territory, and constantly on duty to prevent and punish any
aggressions of the Indians, or any other persons, upon the property
156 CAPT. GILLESPIE EVACUATES THE CITY.
of individuals or the peace of the territory, withdrew all his forces
and proceeded with the squadron to San Francisco. Captain
GilJespie was left in command of the "City of the Angels" with
about thirty riflemen.
Fremont left the city, for the purpose of recruiting his forces
as fully instructed by the order already given on page 125.
Fremont had but forty men with him ; of these he left nine with
Lieut. Talbot to garrison Santa Barbara, and from thence, on the
16th, continued his way north.
It was at this time that Com. Stockton had announced to the
Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Bancroft, that the war was ended,*
through his letter of the 28th of August, 1846.
On the 23d of September, the Californians invested the " City
of the Angels," and on the 30th Capt. Gillespie was forced by
overwhelming numbers to capitulate and to retire to San Pedro,
and thence to embark for Monterey.
Manuel Caspar, the Californian chief, then marched on San
Barbara. Here was stationed a young officer, Theodore Talbot,
(son of the late Isham Talbot, a very distinguished senator from
Kentucky,) and who, though a mere boy, had won the entire con
fidence and esteem of Fremont, whom he had accompanied in his
expeditions for scientific purposes to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon
and California and they had " some rough, ones," as Lieut.
Talbot truly says, in the interesting letter which well describes
the incidents at Santa Barbara, and affords a familiar and authentic
insight of others.
Extract from a letter of Lieut. Theodore Talbot, dated
CITT OF THE ANGELS, CALIFORNIA,
January 15, 1847.
"Since last I wrote you I have had an active life. Col. Fremont
left the City of the Angels in September under command of Capt.
A. H. Gillespie with thirty-odd riflemen, the commodore having
See his letter, Chapter 7.
LIEUT. TALBOT IN SANTA BARBARA. 157
entirely withdrawn his forces and proceeded with his squadron to
San Francisco. We moved to the north, the colonel having with
him only some forty men, (his old party,) the rest of the force
having in part preceded us, and part been disbanded, with the ex
ception of two small parties stationed south of the City of the
Angels. I was left as military commandant of the town and juris
diction of Santa Barbara, a pretty place lying on the ocean one
hundred miles north of the City of the Angels, and the principal
town between that place and Monterey. There were only nine
men left with me, it being the colonel's intention to recruit at the
north, and return immediately. The prefect, the principal civil
authority of the southern department, resided there, and I was left
for the purpose of supporting him. My position was a very plea
sant one ; Santa Barbara being the residence of some of the state
liest Dons and prettiest Senoras in all California. I had been here,
however, but a few days when I received a correo, post-haste from
Capt. Gillespie, bringing news of a rebellion in the south the
City of the Angels being surrounded by 500 of the Californians
under arms. The courier had barely escaped with his life, and
brought me Gillespie's motto seal, concealed in a cigarita, to vouch
for the truth of what he told. Having warned me, he hurried on
to the north, to give this news to the colonel and commodore. I
spent several anxious days every moment expecting to be attacked
in my barracks; hearing only through the women, who, noble and
disinterested always in the hour of need, would give me such little
information as they could obtain with regard to the motions of the
*' Here let me remark, that nothing has surprised me so much, in
my little intercourse with the Mexicans, as the humanity and charity
of the women, as compared with the almost brutal ferocity of the
men. Yon will recollect that Kendall sustains the same opinion
with reference to the Santa Fe expedition.
" Although my position was very precarious, I kept a firm upper
lip, in order to keep down the people of Santa Barbara, which has
some 70 fighting men, and several resident Mexican officers, until
aid could be received from the north. I succeeded in this until the
158 ADVENTURES OF LIEUT. TALBOT.
City of the Angels was taken, and Gillespie forced to capitulate.
Manuel Garpis, the commander, then marched with two hundred
men on Santa Barbara. They surrounded the town, and sent in a
letter demanding my surrender, and guarantying our lives, &c., &c.
They gave us two hours to deliberate. We had all determined not
to surrender our arms ; and, finding the place we then occupied
untenable, with so small a force, we determined to push for the
hills, (our best ground for fighting,) or die in the attempt. I ac
cordingly marshalled my little force and marched out of the town
without opposition those who lay on the road retreating to the
main force which was on the lower side of the town. The few
foreigners living in the town dared not assist me ; and the Cali-
fornians, all of course, took arms against us. Having so unex
pectedly been allowed to pass their force, I camped in the hills
overlooking the town, and determined to remain there a few days,
and co-operate with any force which might be landed at Santa
Barbara. I remained here eight days, when the Californians
having discovered my whereabouts, finally determined to rout me
out. Not knowing my exact position, they had divided into two
or three parties ; and one of them, consisting of some forty men,
happened to strike upon the very spot where I was. I was aware
of their coming, and had given my men orders not to fire until
they were in among us. But my men were so eager to get a shot,
that two of them who were posted in the arroy, or ravine, nearest
the enemy, forgetting my instructions, fired just as they came
marching in on us. They had fired too far for their own shots
even to be effective, killing only the horse of one, and wounding
the horse and grazing the hip of another of the enemy. But the
Californians fled, nor would they again come within reach of our
rifles, pouring a fire from their long carbines from the neighbouring
hills. They sent a foreigner to me, offering to allow me to retain
my arms and freedom, giving my parole of honour not to interfere
farther in the war about to be waged.
"I sent the man back with word that I preferred to fight. Find
ing I would not give up, they put fire in all round me, and suc
ceeded in burning me out. I eluded them, however, and after
ADVENTURES OF LIEUT. TALBOT. 159
lingering another day, in hopes that a force would arrive, I deter
mined to push for Monterey. I came down on a rancho, called
San Marco, where we got something to eat, for we had been
starving for several days. We were also so fortunate as to find
an old soldier of Gen. Micheltorena, who was naturally inimical
to the Californians. He piloted us across the coast mountain,
which is here ninety miles wide, and very rugged, into the head
of the Tulare valley to the Lake of Buena Vista. Here I was
familiar with the country, and after a month's travel, coming some
500 miles, mostly afoot, enduring much hardship and suffering,
we at length effected a junction with Col. Fremont at Monterey.
" They were all very glad to see us, for they certainly thought
we were all killed. In fact, the Californians had circulated that
report. You must excuse me for dwelling on my little adventure;
for the fact is, I suffered more from downright starvation, cold,
nakedness, and every sort of privation, than in any trip I have yet
had to make, and I have had some rough ones. Col. Fremont
had started from San Francisco in the ship Sterling ; but after
being out twenty days, and much bad weather, he was compelled
to put into Monterey. I found him recruiting more men from the
new emigrants, and preparing to go by land to the south. A day
or two after I arrived, a part of two companies, under command
of Capts. Burrows and Thompson, were attacked by the Califor
nians, 80 in number, the Americans having 57 ; they fought 4
Americans were killed, and 3 Californians. Capt. Burrows was
among the killed. "We marched to their assistance, to the mission
of St. John's, from which place they were afraid to move, as they
had a cavallada of 400 head of horses. We left St. John's for the
south the 26th of November, and arrived at San Fernando on the
llth of January.
"This place is twenty-five miles from the City of the Angels,
which we heard the commodore and Gen. Kearny, with 700 men,
were in possession of. The commander of the Californians, Don
Andres Pico, finding it impolitic to wage the war further, sent a
deputation of his officers offering to surrender to Col. Fremont.
Their surrender was accepted, and we marched into the city the
160 COL. FREMONT'S REGIMENT.
14th of January. The volunteer force was soon disbanded, and I
will have a chance of returning home, I hope."
Col. Fremont had, without money or men, and, in a country
where the first was not to be seen, and the latter, few and widely
scattered, set about raising in the north a force sufficient for the
occasion, from the emigrants and strangers. With untiring energy,
and in a very short time, he had succeeded in organizing about 450
men, well mounted, and supplied with every equipment of war,
including four pieces of artillery. The troops constituting Col.
Fremont's command, gathered up hastily as they were, and from
the midst of a population so few and scattered, were perhaps,
taken as a whole, the most strange and discordant that ever
marched under any one banner. They were representatives from
almost every nation on earth, including many tribes of North
American Indians, and speaking all manner of tongues. Yet this
motley crew had been disciplined into a very efficient corps.
Col. Fremont then embarked in the ship Sterling from San
Francisco for the south, the more immediate scene of action ; but
after having been out at sea for twenty days, he was forced by bad
weather to disembark at Monterey. Here it was that Col. Fre
mont made his successful excursion to the Mission of St. John's,
of which Lieut. Talbot speaks.
(It is to be remembered that, on the 27th of May, 1846, Capt.
Fremont had been appointed, in his absence, by the President of
the United States, the lieutenant-colonel of the new regiment of
"Mounted Riflemen." Of this, distance had precluded hitherto
any knowledge in California. Henceforth, Fremont will be spoken
of under his proper title as an officer of the United States army.)
From the Mission of St. John's, Col. Fremont commenced,
about the 26th of November, his march on the "City of the An
gels." On this march of nearly 400 miles, the Californians
hovered around its flanks, watching for some false move or decline
of vigilance. Our limits preclude details to any great extent.
On the 14th of December, Don Jesu Pico, with several others,
was taken prisoners, at Wilson's Rancho, and the next day he
was tried by a court-martial, and condemned to be shot the day
PARDON OF JESU PICO. 161
after, at 12 o'clock. The incident of Pico's pardon is too well
told to seek other language than Lieut. Talbot's, who thus describes
the scene :
"There was no time to lose ; the hour of twelve next day was
fixed for the execution. It was 11 o'clock, and I chanced to be
in the colonel's room, when a lady with a group of children, fol
lowed by many other ladies, burst into the room, throwing them
selves upon their knees, and crying for mercy for the father and
husband. It was the wife and children and friends of Pico.
Never did I hear such accents of grief. Never did I witness
such an agonizing scene. I turned away my eyes, for I could not
look at it, and soon heard from Col. Fremont (whose heart was
never formed to resist such a scene) the heavenly words of par
don. Then the tumult of feeling took a different turn. Joy and
gratitude broke out, filled the room with benedictions, and spread
to those without. To finish the scene, the condemned man was
brought in, and then I saw the whole impulsiveness and fire of
the Spanish character, when excited by some powerful emotion.
He had been calm, composed, quiet, and almost silent, under his
trial and condemnation ; but at the word pardon, a storm of impe
tuous feeling burst forth, and, throwing himself at the feet of
Col. Fremont, he swore to him an eternal fidelity ; and demanded
the privilege of going with him and dying for him.
"But it was not yet all over with Col. Fremont. His own men
required the death of Pico he had done us much harm, and, in
fact, was the head of the insurrection in that district, and had
broken his parole. The colonel went among them and calmed
the ferment in his own camp. He quieted his own men ; but
others, who were not there, have since cried out for the execution
of Pico, and made his pardon an accusation against Col. Fremont.
The pacified state of the country will answer the accusation, and
show that it was a case in which policy and humanity went to
On the 27th, Col. Fremont arrived at Santa Barbara, where he
caused the American flag to be hoisted, with much ceremony, by
Lieut. Talbot and the nine men who had before refused to sur-
162 CAPITULATION OF GEN. PICO.
render at that place, the principal authorities of the town being
required to be present.
This march, in mid-winter, was one of very great hardship.
Both men and horses suffered exceedingly. On Christmas day,
the battalion lost, in crossing the Santa Barbara mountains, from
a hundred and fifty to two hundred horses. The artillery was
brought over by hand, engaging at one time over 100 men at the
From Santa Barbara, Col. Fremont again pressed on towards
the "City of the Angels," when, on the 12th of January, 1847,
at the Ranch of Couenga, near the point of their destination, the
California forces, under Don Andres Pico, were met, in advance
of the position where Col. Fremont had expected to have encoun
tered them in deadly strife.
Such, however, was not the result. The Californians sent for
ward a flag of truce propositions of peace or of cessation of hos
tilities were submitted to the commandant of the California batta
lion of United States forces, which Col. Fremont so far acceded to
as to appoint a board of commissioners to consult with a similar
board appointed by the Californians, and to agree to an entire ces
sation of hostilities until the next afternoon, by which time the
negotiations were to close. The American commissioners were
P. B. Reading, major of the California battalion, Wm. H. Russel,
ordnance officer, and Louis McLane, Jr., commanding artillery,
of the California battalion. The Californian commissioners were
Jose Anto. Carrillo, commandant de Escuadron, and Augustine
Olvera, deputado who, on the 13th, agreed on the terms of capi
tulation, whereby the Californian forces delivered up their artillery
and public arms, and disbanded themselves, which was approved
of on the same day, by Col. Fremont, as "Military Commandant
of California," and by Andres Pico, who signed as "Command-
ante de Escuadron en gef de las fuerzas nacionales en Cali
These terms did not treat the Californians as rebels or citizens
of the United States, and did not exact oaths of allegiance, but
postponed it for a definitive treaty of peace, requiring nothing but
COM. STOCKTON'S OPINION OF THE CAPITULATION. 163
present obedience to the American authorities, and forgetfulness
of the past.
It will be seen in another chapter devoted to the operations of
the Pacific squadron, and their co-operation in the conquest of
California, that the official details there given of the capitulation,
&c., accompanied the official despatches of Com. Stockton, to
whom, as his presumed superior in authority, they were given by
Col. Fremont, after his arrival at the " City of the Angels." On
his arrival, (the 13th,) he found Gen. Kearny and Com. Stockton,
and reported, that day, his battalion to Gen. Kearny.
It will be seen that Com. Stockton, in his despatch of the next
day to Mr. Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy, speaks thus of these
occurrences : " I have the honour to inform you of the arrival of
Lieutenant-colonel Fremont at this place, with four hundred men -
that some of the insurgents have made their escape to Sonora,
and that the rest have surrendered to our arms."
" Immediately after the battles of the 8th and 9th, they began to
disperse ; and I am sorry to say, that their leader, Jose Ma. Flores,
made his escape, and that the others have been pardoned by a
capitulation agreed upon by Lieut. Col. Fremont.
" Jose Ma. Flores, the commander of the insurgent forces, two or
three days previous to the 8th, sent two commissioners with a flag
of truce to my camp, to make ' a treaty of peace. 1 I informed
the commissioners that I could not recognise Jose Ma. Flores, who
had broken his parole, as an honourable man, or as one having
any rightful authority, or worthy to be treated with that he was
a rebel in arms, and if I caught him, I would have him shot. It
seems, that not being able to negotiate with me, and having lost
the battles of the 8th and 9th, they met Col. Fremont on the 12th
instant*, on his way here, who, not knowing what had occurred,
entered into the capitulation with them, which I now send to
you ; and, although I refused to do it myself, still I have thought
it best to approve it. The territory of California is again tranquil,
and the civil government formed by me is again in operation in the
places where it was interrupted by the insurgents.
"Col. Fremont has five hundred men in his battalion, which wili
164 MEETING WITH KEARNY AND STOCKTON.
be quite sufficient to preserve the peace of the territory ; and I
will immediately withdraw my sailors and marines, and sail as
soon as possible for the coast of Mexico, where I hope they will
give a good account of themselves."
It was here, at this meeting of Col. Fremont with Com. Stock
ton and Gen. Kearny, that a misunderstanding arose as to their
In a few days after, Gen. Kearny withdrew to San Diego. Com.
Stockton also departed " immediately," as he had declared his
intention, leaving Col. Fremont to occupy, with his battalion, the
" City of the Angels," whence he issued, on the 22d, the follow
ing circular :
" The peace of the country being restored, and future tranquillity
vouchsafed by a treaty made and entered into by commissioners re
spectively appointed by the properly authorized California officers
on the one hand, and by myself as military commandant of the
United States forces in the district of California on the other, by
which a civil government is to take place of the military, an ex
change of all prisoners, &c., &c., forthwith ensure to the end that
order, and a wholesome civil police should obtain throughout the
landa copy of which said treaty will be immediately published
in the Californian newspaper, published at Monterey.
"Therefore, in virtue of the aforesaid treaty, as well as the
functions that in me rest as civil governor of California, I do hereby
proclaim order and peace restored to the country, and require the
immediate release of all prisoners, the return of the civil officers to
their appropriate duties, and as strict an obedience of the military
to the civil authority, as is consistent with the security of peace,
and the maintenance of good order when troops are garrisoned.
- " Done at the capital of the Territory of California, temporarily
seated at the Cuidad de los Angeles, this 22d day of January,
1847. "J. C. FREMONT,
" Governor and Commander-in-chief of California.
"Witness: W. H. RUSSELL, Secretary of State."
Col. Fremont discharged a portion of his battalion, and sent the
KIT CARSON. 165
residue to San Gabriel, a Catholic missionj seven miles distant from
Cuidad de los Angeles, (or the "City of the Angels,") residing
thus without military protection in a city of about 7000 Califor
nians, until the latter part of March, when he learned that which
we have already related in another chapter the arrival of Com.
Shubrick at Monterey, and of the joint circular of the commodore,
'as " Commander-in-chief of the naval forces," and of Brig. Gen.
Kearny, as " Governor of California."
About the 25th of February, Col. Fremont sent despatches to
the United States government, through passed Midshipman Beale,
Lieut. Talbot, and a personage who has often figured in these
sketches, and whose memoir, from very, competent hands, is here
inserted not alone in justice to him, but that it fills up details,
perhaps, wanting in this narrative, KIT CARSON.
" Under this name, within a few years, has become quite familiar
to the public, mainly through his connection with the expeditions
of Fremont, one of the best of those noble and original characters
that have from time to time sprung up on and beyond our frontier,
retreating with it to the west, and drawing from association with
uncultivated nature, not the rudeness and sensualism of the savage,
but genuine simplicity and truthfulness of disposition, and gene
rosity, bravery, and single-heartedness to a degree rarely found in
society. Although Kit has only become known to the reading
people of ' the States' and of Europe through Fremont's reports,
he was long ago famous in a world as extended, if not as popu
lous ; famous for excelling in all the qualities that life in the track
less and vast west requires and developes. He has been celebrated
(though now aged only about thirty-seven years) as a hunter,
trapper, guide or pilot of the prairies, and Indian fighter, uniting
to the necessary characteristics of that adventurous and sturdy
class, a kindness of heart, and gentleness of manner that relieves
it of any possible harshness or asperity. He is now in 'the
States,' having recently arrived with despatches from California ;
and I have taken the opportunity to extract from him a few inci
dents of his eventful life. He is worthy of an honourable and
more extended memoir ; and were his adventures fully written out,
166 KIT CARSON.
they would possess an interest equal to any personal narrative
" Christopher Carson was born in Kentucky, in the year 1810,
or 1811, his father having been one of the early settlers, and also
a noted hunter and Indian fighter. In the year following Kit's
birth, the family removed, for the sake of more elbow-room than
the advancing population of Kentucky left them, to the territory
of Missouri. On this frontier, bred to border life, Kit remained to
the age of fifteen, when he joined a trading party to Santa Fe.
This was his introduction to those vast plains that stretch beyond
the state of Missouri. Instead of returning home, Kit found his
way, by various adventures, south, through New Mexico, to the
copper-mines of Chihuahua, where he was employed some months
as a teamster.
" When about seventeen years old, he made his first expedition
as a trapper. This was with a party which had been induced by
favourable accounts of fresh trapping grounds on the Rio Colorado
of California, to an adventure thither ; so that Kit's first exploits
were in the same remote and romantic region where, during the
last year, he and all his comrades, with their commander, have
earned imperishable honour. The enterprise was successful, and
Kit relates many interesting anecdotes of the hardships of the
wilderness, and of the encounters of his party with the Indians.
The Mexican authorities and settlers in California were even at
that time jealous of the Americans, and threatened to seize even
this inoffensive and roving party of beaver-catchers. They made
good their return, however, to Taos, in New Mexico ; whence,
soon after, Kit joined a trapping party to the head-waters of the
Arkansas, (likewise a region embraced, since the last published
Expedition, in the surveys of Col. Fremont.) Without recrossing
the prairies, Kit went northward to the region of the Rocky Moun
tains that gives rise to the Missouri and Columbia rivers, and there
remained near eight years, engaged in the then important occupa
tion of trapping. The great demand for the beaver, and the con
sequent high prices at that time paid for the peltries, gave an ad
ditional stimulus to the adventurous spirit of the young men of the
KIT CARSON. 167
west, and drew nearly all who preferred the excitements and
hazards of life in the wilderness to quieter pursuits, into the re
cesses of the Rocky Mountains. Here a peculiar class was formed ;
the elements, the sturdy, enterprising, and uncurbed character of
the frontier; the circumstances that influenced and formed it, nature
in her wildest, roughest, and grandest aspects savages, both as
associates and foes, of every cast, from the wretched Root-diggers
to the vindictive Blackfeet, and the courageous and warlike Crows
and a vocation of constant labour, privation, and peril in every
shape, yet of gains of a nature and degree to give it somewhat of
the characteristics of gambling. The decrease of the beaver
before a pursuit of the poor animal so ruthless as was thus stimu
lated, and the substitution of other commodities for the beaver fur,
I have left trapping scarcely worth following as a .vocation ; and the
! race of trappers has nearly disappeared from the mountain gorges,
! where they built their rude lodges, where they set their traps for
the wily beaver, and where were their frequent combats with the
savages, and with wild beasts not less formidable. In the school
of men thus formed by hardship, exposure, peril, and temptation,
our hero acquired all their virtues, and escaped their vices. He
became noted through the extent of the trapping grounds, and on
both sides of the Rocky Mountains, as a successful trapper, an
unfailing shot, an unerring guide, and for bravery, sagacity, and
steadiness in all circumstances. He was chosen to lead in almost
all enterprises of unusual danger, and in all attacks on the In
dians. At one time, with a party of twelve, he tracked a band
of near sixty Crows, who had stolen some of the horses belonging
to the trappers, cut loose the animals which were tied within ten
feet of the strong fort of logs in which the Indians had taken
shelter, attacked them, and made good his retreat with the reco
vered horses ; an Indian of another tribe, who was with the trap
pers, bringing away a Crow scalp as a trophy. In one combat
with the Blackfeet, Carson received a rifle ball in his left shoulder,
breaking it. Save this, he has escaped the manifold dangers to
*which he has been exposed, without serious bodily injury. Of
course, in so turbulent and unrestrained a life, there were not un-
168 KIT CARSON.
frequent personal rencounters among the trappers themselves, nor
could the most peaceably-disposed always avoid them. These
were most frequent and savage at the periods when the trappers
went in to the * rendezvous,' as were called the points where the
companies kept their establishments for receiving the peltries and
supplying the trappers. Here a few days of indulgence were
commonly allowed himself by the trapper, and there was much
drinking and gambling, and consequently fighting. Feuds, grow
ing out of national feelings, would also naturally enough sometimes
occur among the trappers there being Canadians and Mexicans
as well as the Americans ; all having pride of race and country.
On one occasion, a Frenchman, who ranked as a bully, had whip
ped a good many Canadians, and then began to insult the Ameri
cans, saying they were only worth being whipped with switches.
At this, Carson fired up and said, * He was the most trifling one
among the Americans, and to begin with him.' After some little
more talk, each went off and armed himself Carson with a pistol,
the Frenchman with a rifle and both mounted for the fight.
Riding up until their horses' heads touched, they fired almost at
the same instant, Carson a little the quickest, and, his ball passing
through the Frenchman's hand, made him jerk up his gun, and
sent the ball which was intended for Carson's heart grazing by his
left eye and singeing his hair. This is the only serious personal
quarrel of Carson's life, as he is, like most very brave men, of a
peaceable and gentle temper.
"Col. Fremont owed his good fortune in procuring Carson's ser
vices, to an accidental meeting on a steamboat above St. Louis
neither having ever before heard of the other. It was at the com
mencement of Fremont's first expedition. Carson continued with
it until, in its return, it had recrossed the mountains. His courage,
fidelity, and excellent character, so far conciliated the good will of
the commander, that, in his second expedition, he gladly availed him
self again of Kit's services, on meeting with him, as he chanced to
do, on the confines of New Mexico. Kit again left the party after
its arrival this side of the mountains not, however, until Fremont
had obtained a promise from him to join the third expedition, in,
KIT CARSON. 169
case one should be organized. Some incidents will be interesting,
connected wtth this latter expedition, which was interrupted in its
purely scientific character by the treachery of the Mexican chief
(Castro) compelling Fremont to change his peaceful employment,
and which, owing to the continuance of the war with Mexico, is
not yet completed.
" In the interim between Fremont's second and third expeditions,
Carson had settled himself near Taos, and had begun to farm, pre
paring to lead a quiet life, when he received a note from Fremont,
written at Bent's Fort, reminding him of his promise, and telling
him he would wait there for him. On this occasion Carson showed
his strong friendship for his old commander, and the generous and
unselfish nature of his feelings. In four days from receiving the
note, Carson had joined the party, having sold house and farm for
less than half the sum he had just expended upon it, and put his
family under the protection of his friend, the late Gov. Bent, until
he should return from a certainly long and dangerous journey.
This protection, unfortunately, was taken from them in the late
massacre at Taos, when Carson's brother-in-law was also one of
the victims to the fury of the Mexicans against all connected with
the Americans. Mrs. Carson saved her life by flight, leaving them
to rob the house of everything. Kendall, and all others who have
written of their adventures in New Mexico, ascribe the highest
character to the women of that country for modesty, generosity,
quick sympathy, and all feminine virtues. To this amiable class
belongs the wife of Carson, who has paid so dearly for her affec
tion for him.
" The route of the third expedition led the party to the southern
and western side of the Great Salt Lake a region entirely unex
plored, and filled, according to the superstitions and tales current
among the Indians and the trappers of the mountains, with all
imaginable horrors ; a vast desert, void of vegetation and fresh
water, abounding in quicksands and in brackish pools and rivers,
with only subterranean outlets. This was the reputed character
of the 'country, justifying at least the apprehension of lack of those
indispensables to the voyageur of the wilderness water and grass.
170 KIT CARSON.
In truth, the southern border of the lake was found to be skirted
with a salt plain of about sixty miles in width. Over this, as else
where, Carson, in his capacity of scout, was always with the ad
vance party, to search for water and convenient places for camp
the usual signal of the prairies, a fire, serving, by its column of
smoke, to find out where the advance were halting.
" The neighbourhood of the Rio Colorado and the Sierra Nevada
of California, is infested with Indian tribes of Hippophagi, or
Horse-Eaters, (as they may well be called,) who keep the northern
parts of California in alarm, by sweeping down into the settle
ments, and carrying off horses and mules, which they use for food.
With these savages the expedition had several .skirmishes ; but,
owing to the perpetual vigilance which was exercised, neither men
nor animals fell into the hands of the savages.
"When Fremont's party, in May, 1846, (not knowing of the
existence of the war with Mexico,) retired from California, they
proceeded north as far as the Tlamath lake, in Oregon, proposing
to explore a new route into the Willhameth valley.
" A courier having overtaken Col. Fremont there, to say that
Mr. Gillespie and five men were endeavouring to overtake him, he
took ten men and returned sixty miles with the courier ; making
all haste, in order to reach them before night, and prevent any
attack which the Indians might be tempted to make on a small
party. These Tlamath Indians, by nature brave and warlike, have
now a new source of power in the iron arrow-heads and axes fur
nished them by the British posts in that country. Their arrows
can only be extracted from the flesh by the knife, as they are
barbed, and of course are not to be drawn out. The events of that
night and the days following, illustrate so fully the nightly dangers
of an Indian country, and the treacherous nature of savages, that
I will give them, and in Carson's own words :
"'Mr. Gillespie had brought the colonel letters from home the
first he had had since leaving the States the year before and he
was up, and kept a large fire burning until after midnight ; the
rest of us were tired out, and all went to sleep. This was the
only night in all our travels, except the one night on the island in
KIT CARSON. 171
the Salt Lake, that we failed to keep guard ; and as the men were
so tired, and we expected no attack now that we had sixteen in
party, the colonel didn't like to ask it of them, but sat up late him
self. Owens and I were sleeping together, and we were waked at
the same time by the licks of the axe that killed our men. At
first, I didn't know it was that ; but I called to Basil, who was that
side, "What's the matter there? what's that fuss about?" He
never answered, for he was dead then, poor fellow ; and he never
knew what killed him his head had been cut in, in his sleep ; the
other groaned a little as he died. The Delawares (we had four
with us) were sleeping at that fire, and they sprang up as the Tla-
maths charged them. One of them caught up a gun, which was
unloaded ; but, although he could do no execution, he kept them at
bay, fighting like a soldier, and didn't give up until he was shot
full of arrows three entering his heart : he died bravely. As
soon as I had called out, I saw it was Indians in the camp, and I
and Owens together cried out ' Indians.' There were no orders
given ; things went on too fast, and the colonel had men with him
that didn't need to be told their duty. The colonel and I, Max
well, Owens, Godey, and Stepp, jumped together, we six, and ran
to the assistance of our Delawares. I don't know who fired and
who didn't ; but I think it was Stepp's shot that killed the Tlamath
chief; for it was at the crack of Stepp's gun that he fell. He had
an English half-axe slung to his wrist by a cord, and there were
forty arrows left in his quiver the most beautiful and warlike
arrows I ever saw. He must have been the bravest man among
them, from the way he was armed, and judging by his cap. When
the Tlamaths saw him fall they ran ; but we lay, every man with
his rifle cocked, until daylight, expecting another attack.
" * In the morning, we found, by the tracks, that from fifteen to
twenty of the Tlamaths had attacked us. They had killed three
of our men, and wounded one of the Delawares, who scalped the
chief, whom we left where he fell. Our dead men we carried on
mules ; but, after going about ten miles, we found it impossible to
get them any farther through the thick timber ; and, finding a
secret place, we buried them under logs and chunks, having no
17* KIT CARSON.
way to dig a grave. It was only a few days before this fight that
gome of these same Indians had come into our camp ; and, although
we had only meat for two days, and felt sure that we would have
to eat mules for ten or fifteen days to come, the colonel divided
with them, and even had a mule unpacked to give them some
tobacco and knives.'
" The party then retraced its way into California ; and, two days
after this rencontre, they met a large village of Tlamaths more
than a hundred warriors. Carson was ahead with ten men, but
one of them having been discovered, he could not follow his
orders, which were to send back word and let Fremont come up
with the rest in case they found Indians. But as they had been
seen, it only remained to charge the village ; which they did,
killing many, and putting to flight the rest. The women and
children, Carson says, 'we did not interfere with ;' but they burnt
the village, together with their canoes and fishing-nets. In a
subsequent encounter, the same day, Carson's life was imminently
exposed. As they galloped up, he was rather in advance, when
he observed an Indian fixing his arrow to let fly at him. Carson
levelled his rifle, but it snapped ; and in an instant the arrow
would have pierced him, had not Fremont, seeing the danger,
dashed his horse on the Indian, and knocked him down. ' I owe
my life to them two,' says Carson ' the colonel and Sacramento
saved me. Sacramento is a noble Californian horse which Capt.
Sutler gave to Col. Fremont in 1844, and which has twice made
the distance between Kentucky and his native valley, where he
earned his name by swimming the river after which he is called,
at the close of a long day's journey. Notwithstanding all his
hardships, (for he has travelled everywhere with his master,) he
is still the favourite horse of Col. Fremont.
" The hostile and insulting course of Castro drew Fremont into
retaliatory measures ; and, aided by the American settlers, he pur
sued the Mexicans for some time ; but, being unable to make them
stand and fight, (they always flying before him,) the flag of inde
pendence was raised at Sonoma on the 5th of July, 1846. Learn
ing soon after of the existence of the war, the American flag was
KIT CARSON. 173
promptly substituted, and the party proceeded to Monterey, where
they found the fleet under Com. Sloat already in possession.
Castro, with his forces, had retreated before Fremont ; and, to
prevent their escape into Sonora, Col. Fremont, with a hundred
and sixty men, was offered the sloop of war 'Cyane' to carry
them down to San Diego and facilitate the pursuit, as he hoped
by that means to intercept Castro at Puebla de los Angeles. Then
Carson, for the first time, saw the blue ocean, and the great vessels
that, like white-winged birds, spread their sails above its waters.
The vast prairies, whose immense green surface has been aptly
likened to the sea, together with all objects ever seen upon it,
were familiar to him ; but it proved no preparation for actual salt
water, and the pride and strength of the backwoodsmen were soon
humbled by the customary tribute to Neptune. The forces were
landed, and raised the flag at San Diego, and then they proceeded
jointly to the capital, (Cuidad de los Angeles,) where, although,
from the detention at sea Castro had escaped, American authority
was also established.
"From this point, on the 1st of September, 1846, Carson, with
fifteen men, was despatched by Fremont with an account of the
progress and state of affairs in that distant conquest. Carson was
to have made the journey from Pueblo to Washington city and
back, in 140 days. He pushed ahead accordingly, not stopping
even for game, but subsisting on his mules, of which they made
food as the animals broke down in the rapidity of the journey.
He had crossed the wilderness, as he expected, in thirty days,
when, meeting with Gen. Kearny's company within a few days
of Santa Fe, he was turned back by that officer, to whose orders
he believed himself subject, and with infinite reluctance resigned
his despatches to another, and returned to guide Kearny's com
mand into California.
" Gen. Kearny entered California without molestation, until the
fight of San Pasqual ; an official account of which has been
published. In the charge made upon the Mexicans, Carson, as
usual, was among the foremost, when, as he approached within
bullet range of the enemy, who were drawn up in order of battle,
174 KIT CARSON.
his horse stumbled and fell, pitching him over his head, and
breaking his rifle in twain. Seizing his knife, he advanced on
foot, until he found a killed dragoon, whose rifle he took, and was
pressing on, when he met the mounted men returning from the
charge, the Mexicans having galloped off. At the instance of
Carson, the American party then took possession of a small rocky
hill, near the scene of the battle, as the strongest position in reach.
Not being in a situation to go forward, they encamped here ; and
the enemy collecting in force, they remained in a state of siege.
There was little of either grass or water on the hill, and soon both
animals and men began to suffer. The way was so thickly beset
with the enemy, that the commander doubted the propriety of at
tempting to cut a passage through, when, after four days' siege,
Carson and Passed Midshipman Beale, of the navy, (who had been
sent to meet Kearny, with some thirty men, as a complimentary
escort to San Diego,] volunteered to go to Capt. Stockton, at that
place, and bring a reinforcement.
"This daring enterprise, these intrepid and resolute young men,
accompanied by a Delaware Indian who was attached as a spy
to Gen. Kearny's command, successfully accomplished, but not
without extreme suffering and peril. The distance between the
camp and San Diego was but thirty miles ; but, as they had to
make long detours, they travelled nearer fifty. They left the
camp in the night of the 9th of December, crawling in a horizontal
position through the enemy's lines. Their shoes made some
noise ; for which cause they took them off, and during the night
unfortunately lost them. Lying by all day to avoid the enemy,
they succeeded by the end of the second night in reaching their
destination, and procuring the necessary reinforcement. Their
feet and flesh torn and bleeding from the rocks and thorny shrubs,
haggard from hunger, thirst, anxiety, and sleeplessness, they
were, again nevertheless, in full performance of duty at the battles
of the 8th and 9th of January.
"When Fremont, after meeting with and accepting the sur
render of the Mexican forces, reached Los Angeles, Carson imme
diately returned to his command, and in the ensuing month was
KIT CARSON. 175
again selected to cross the desert, the wilderness, the mountains,
and the prairies, to bring news of those far-off operations of its
agents to the government in Washington. Leaving the frontier
settlements of California on the 25th of February, Carson arrived
in St. Louis about the middle of May making the journey, not
withstanding the inclemency of the season, and an unavoidable
detention of ten days at Santa Fe, in a shorter time than it was
ever before accomplished. The unsettled state of the country
the war with Mexico, inciting the savage tribes to unusual license
and daring added much to the inevitable hazards and privations
of the journey, rendering the most unceasing vigilance necessary
night and day ; while the speed with which the party travelled
debarred them from the usual resource of travellers in uninhabited
regions, and they were fain to resort to the unsavory subsistence
of those Hippophagi of the Sierra Nevada ; only converting the
poor beasts to food, however, when they were travel-worn and ex
"Fortunately, the journey was made in its extent without serious
mishap, and Carson, with Lieut. Beale, his comrade in the night
march to San Diego, and Lieut. Talbot, the young gentleman who
led the gallant retreat of the little party of ten through the enemy's
midst, a distance of three hundred miles from Santa Barbara to
Monterey, are all now in Washington.
" Since Carson's arrival, solely through the appreciation by the
President of his merit and services, he has received a commission
of lieutenant in the rifle regiment of which Mr. Fremont is the
lieutenant-colonel. The appointment was unsolicited and unex
pected the suggestion entirely of the President's own recognition
of the deserts of this man of the prairies a fact that is most
honourable to the Executive, and makes the favour the more
gratifying to the friends of Carson."
As soon as Col. Fremont was thus apprised of the arrival and
action of Com. Shubrick and of Gen. Kearny, he started, (on 21st
March, 1847,) from Lcs Angeles for Monterey, a distance of near
500 miles, without any attendants but a coloured man and two
California gentlemen, Don Jesus Pico, who had been pardoned at
176 COL. FREMONT AND GEN. KEARNY.
San Luis Obispo, and Don Andres Pico, both of whom had per
formed distinguished parts in hostilities against the Americans, but
were then devoted to Col. Fremont in gratitude for clemency
shown. From this fact is inferred the tranquillity of the country.
Col. Fremont, simultaneously with his departure for Monterey,
despatched W. H. Russell, Esq., to the United States, who, on his
arrival, reported the general tranquillity of the country, and the
faithful observance of the capitulation in his own language.
"These terms the Californians had faithfully observed up to the
time of my coming away, and California presents a state of satisfied
quietness, altogether different from New Mexico, (through which I
passed on my return home,) or any other part of Mexico which we
Col. Fremont having had an interview with Com. Shubrick and
with Gen. Kearny, returned immediately to the City of the Angels,
which he did not again leave until his departure for the United
Col. Fremont, when informed of the commission from the go
vernment as commander-in-chief, and of the orders with which
Gen. Kearny arrived in California, declined, in writing, to obey
his military orders, and continued to act as "governor and com
mander-in-chief of California ;" alleging, as the grounds of this
refusal, his own previous appointment as governor and commander
by Com. Stockton, and the fact that the authority conferred on
Gen. Kearny had become obsolete by the force of events not looked
to by the government as to happen until after the arrival of Gen.
Kearny in the territory. The chief of these events was the
accomplishment of the conquest of California, which he alleged
had been already achieved by Com. Stockton and himself, before
the coming of Gen. Kearny, and the troops under his command.
(It is not the purpose of these sketches to commemorate any
controversy between individuals whose gallantry did honour to
their country, and to the branch of the service to which each
belonged. It is enough here to say that the orders and achieve
ments of every prominent actor have been given with entire im
partiality, and, as far as the sources of information, common to the
RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. 177
public, would admit of, in such narrative form as will, possibly,
admit of the reader's determining questionable points for himself.)
On the 31st of May, 1847, Col. Fremont departed from Los
Angeles, Upper California, (Col. Richard B. Mason, of First
Dragoons, having been left by Gen. Kearny, as governor and
commander-in-chief,) to return to the United States. His original
engineering party of subordinates, hardy backwoodsmen, trappers,
&c., who had encountered with him a series of adventures, un
contemplated on their enrolment for scientific purposes in 1845,
returned under his charge. The party travelled with that of Gen.
Kearny as far as Fort Leavenworth, where they arrived on the
22d of August, 1847. Here charges of disobedience of orders
were preferred against Col. Fremont by Gen. Kearny, and a full
and speedy trial asked in return. That trial is now progressing
at Washington City.
From Fort Leavenworth, Col. Fremont paid a short visit to St.
Louis, Mo., where his fellow citizens waited on him with their
congratulations at his safe return, and the brilliancy of his achieve
ments on his distant theatre of action. He was also tendered a
public dinner by a large number of the most influential of all
parties. This he declined, and in reply thus expressed himself:
"Placed in a critical and delicate position, where imminent
danger urged immediate action, and where the principal difficulty
lay in knowing full well what must be done, where, in a struggle
barely for the right to live, every effort to secure our safety in
volved unusual and grave responsibilities, I could only hope from
your forbearance a suspension of judgment until, with full pos
session of the facts, you would be able to determine under-
And he hastened on to the seat of government.
178 OPERATIONS OF GEN. KEARNY.
Gen. Kearny Upper California Orders and Instructions Departure from
Santa F Captain Johnston's Journal of the March Meets Kir Carson-
March renewed Incidents of the Journey Visit to Copper-mines
Apachas Aztec Ruins Casa de Montezuma Pimos and Cocomaricopas
Indians Provisions fail Capture of Castro's Horses, and of the Mail
Junction cf the Gila and Colorado Desert Approach California Signs of
the Enemy Letter to Com. Stockton Capt. Gillespie The Enemy Battle
of San Pasqual Death of Captains Johnston and Moore, and Lieut. Ham
mond Gen. Kearny, Lieut Warner, Captains Gillespie and Gibson,
wounded Com. Stockton Sailors and Marines The Enemy Battles of
8th and 9th January Killed and Wounded Occupation of City of the
Angels Col. Fremont joins Gen. Kearny Joint Circular with Com. Shu-
brick Lieut Col. Cooke and Mormon Battalion Proclamation of Lieut.
Emory and Despatches Capt Tompkin's Artillery Company Col. Stevci>
son's Regiment Settlements and Towns, &c. Decree of Gen. Kearny
Government established Orders to take possession of Lower California
Gen. Kearny returns to United States Route homewards Dead Emi
grants Arrival Reception.
GEN. KEARNY, in command of the Army of the West, had been
directed by the Secretary of War, Wm. L. Marcy, to proceed
across the Rocky Mountains to Upper California, (of which for
various reasons it was " deemed important that military possession
should be taken,") with what force he could spare, after taking
and securing the possession of Santa Fe. The orders and instruc
tions for the performance of Gen. Kearny's part in the attainment
of this purpose of " the greatest importance," have been already
sketched, as, also, " the prompt and energetic manner in which
Gen. Kearny conducted to a successful termination the very diffi
cult and distant enterprise, "* of the capture of Santa Fe and New
Having made all his arrangements at Santa Fe, Gen. Kearny
* Report of the Secretary of War, Dec. 5, 1846, accompanying President's
CAPT. JOHNSTON'S NOTES. 179
prepared as soon as possible, in accordance with the wishes of the
executive, to set out on another difficult and distant enterprise.
The route to Upper California, recommended hy his topo
graphical engineers, and determined upon by Gen. Kearny, was
to proceed from Santa Fe down the Rio Grande about 200 miles,
thence to strike across to the Gila, and to move down that river
near to its mouth, then to cross the Colorado and thence, keeping
near the Pacific, to Monterey.
On the 25th of September, 1846, Gen. Kearny set out on his
long and exceedingly interesting journey. On the next day he
had left Major Sumner's dragoon camp, thirteen miles from Santa
Fe, and was en route with 300 United States dragoons for California.
The dragoon horses were all sent back to the United States, and
the command all mounted on mules, and the wagons drawn by the
same hardy animals and by oxen, as it was not expected the
country through which they were about to pass would afford the
proper sustenance to the high-mettled chargers of the First Dra
goons. Indeed, the grass had long been consumed for many miles
around Santa Fe, and forage had been brought with great difficulty
and expense from a distance, or the horses were picketed in dis
tant places where they might find pasture.
The route of Gen. Kearny has been most ably and interestingly
illustrated by the " rough notes" of his late lamented and accom
plished aid-de-camp, Capt. A. R. Johnston, of the First Dragoons,
who was unfortunately killed on the 6th December, 1846, at the
battle of San Pasqual. They extend down to a few hours before
his death, and irnbody a great variety of curious and interesting
facts. It is from these notes, that the latest and most authentic
account of the protracted and fatiguing march of Gen. Kearny,
through an important region of our continent, is to be found.
From these "notes" it appears that Gen. Kearny continued his
route through many villages of the New Mexicans, along the
margin of the Rio Grande down to Albuquerque, ("a town of
some 6000 inhabitants" elsewhere said,) where he crossed the
Rio Grande, the ford being about two and a half feet deep. The
inhabitable portion of New Mexico is represented as confined
180 MEETING WITH KIT CARSON.
to the immediate borders of the streams. The bottoms on the
Rio Grande, down to this point, about one and a half mile wide,
and, elevated but a few feet above the level of the rapid and
regular streams of water, are rudely irrigated, but might, by
proper appliances, be made to support a population ten times
greater than the present number. The rains of this country all
fall on the mountain-tops, which afford abundant evidence of vol
canic action in their mineral substances. From Albuquerque they
marched through a country generally destitute of wood, and
altogether of hard grained timber, and with excessive heat, until
October 8, when an express reached them on the right bank of
the Rio Grande, informing the General that the Navahoes had
attached the village of Palverdera, twelve miles down the river.
The alcalde had sent for help where they were still fighting.
Capt. Moore's company was forthwith sent in defence of the
Mexicans, and orders were despatched back to Col. Doniphan to
make a campaign in the Navaho country. (The same which
he so ably executed.) Capt. Moore next day reported that the
Navahoes, over 100, had driven off quite a quantity of stock, but
that, as both parties appeared to be afraid, no wounds were re
ceived. On the 5th they reached Secoro, where they learned that
the best road to the river Gila was directly out from the Rio Grande
at that place.
On the 6th, a meeting took place, which is best described in
Capt. Johnston's own words: '
"After marching about three miles, we met Kit Carson, direct
en express from California with a mail of public letters for Wash
ington. He informs us that Col. Fremont is probably civil and
military governor of California ; and that about forty days since,
Com. Stockton, with the naval force, and Col. Fremont, acting in
concert, commenced to revolutionize that country, and place it
under the American flag ; that in about ten days their work was
done, and Carson, having received the rank of lieutenant, was
despatched across the country by the Gila, with a party to carry
the mail. The general told him that he had just passed over the
country which we were to traverse, and he wanted him to go
THE APACHES INDIANS. 181
back with him as a guide ; he replied, that he had pledged him
self to go to Washington, and he could not think of not fulfilling
his promise. The general told him he would relieve him of all
responsibility, and place the mail in the. hands of a safe person,
to carry it on. He finally consented, and turned his face to the
west again, just as he was on the eve of entering the settlements,
after his arduous trip, and when he had set his hopes on seeing
his family. It requires a brave man to give up his private feel
ings thus for the public good ; but Carson is one such. Honour
to him for it! Carson left California with 15 men among them,
six Delaware Indians faithful fellows. They had fifty animals ;
most of which they left on the road, or traded with the Apaches' ;
giving two for one. They were not aware of the presence of the
American troops in New Mexico. They counted upon feeling
their way along; and, in case the Mexicans were hostile, they
meant to start a new outfit and run across their country. When
they came to the Copper-mine Apaches, they first learned that an
American general had possession of the territory of New Mexico. /
The Apaches were very anxious to be friendly with the Ameri
cans, and received them very cordially ; much to their surprise.
The column moved on ten miles, and encamped under a beautiful
grove of cotton-woods ; and the General issued an order reducing
the command to 100 men, taking C and K companies with him,
and leaving B, G, and I companies under Major Summer's com
mand, in the new Mexican territory. The officers to march with
the expedition are Gen. Kearny, Captains Turner and Johnston ;
Major Swords, quartermaster ; Assistant-surgeon Griffin ; Lieut.
Warner and Emory, Topographical Engineers ; Capt. Moore, Lieu
tenants Hammond and Davidson, First Dragoons. Each company
has three wagons, with eight mules in each ; and the whole of the
other companies put under requisition to supply C and K compa
nies with the best outfits. It went hard with some of the company
commanders to part with their fine teams the accumulation of
many years in their companies ; but the public service being para
mount, they submitted cheerfully. The Apaches came to us to
day, and gave us four young men as guides."
182 PASSING THE WATER-SHED.
Next day, they took leave of their companions in arms, and on
the day after had gone near 200 miles down the Rio Grande, from
Santa Fe, but the stream was still unfit for navigation. They
were then near the commencement of the Jornada del Muerto of
100 miles without water, (subsequently passed over by Col. Doni-
The mountains at this point of their route appeared to become
more lofty, and the "back-bone" of North America, to have been
split open along here, and all the igneous rocks to have been thrust
up in general parallelism, without making a continuous range along
this stream, from which the waters of the Rio Grande run directly
south, while those of the Arkansas, the Gila, and other streams
flow east and west.
On the 9th, the mules began to give out in the teams, and the
general determined to remain in camp, and send to Major Sumner,
for mules to take back the wagons and other property not needed
in packing. Carson reported the country as worse rather than
better in front. Next morning they had frost and ice in camp.
Two New Mexicans here brought mules for sale, representing
they had them from the Apache Indians in trading. As this was
, contrary to the laws of the territory, Gen. Kearny confiscated all
the mules they said they had gotten from the Apaches and sent
them off. They said they knew it was contrary to law, and were
willing to submit. The general gave them a paper, stating what
he had done, and the reasons for it. They then asked for license
to trade with the Apaches, which was granted them, and de
On the 13th, Lieut. Ingalls arrived with the pack-saddles, and
the mail containing general orders Nos. 30 to 36, and letters
which required answering. Here the door was closed to future
communication with the United States, as they passed into the
Apache country. On the 15th, they took a final departure from
the Rio Grande, and its rugged gravel hills and harsh bottom-
grass, tasting of salt, and ascended, at once, near 200 feet, to an
elevated plain, deeply cut with the canons of the streams. In
this day's march, they saw a canon (or deep cut) of fifty feet deep
ABANDONED COPPER MINES. 183
and twenty wide, affording a passage for a stream, which, for a
short distance, was a fine leaping mountain stream, with over
hanging trees, and fish playing in its waters, but then sank in the
sand and all became arid again. Entered now upon a more plea
sant country, as they approached the lesser peaks of the Sierra de
los Mimbres, covered with trees, shrubbery and grass. A view from
a peak near their camp is thus described: "The view presented
was very grand ; the valley of the Rio Grande, widening to the
south as far as El Paso, and twenty to thirty miles wide, covered
with grass, lies below ; the peaks of mountains standing around
in the distance, like the frame of a picture. It is evident at a
glance, that the lower part of New Mexico is by far the most
The visit to the copper mines claims, from its interest, insertion
entire, as also does the next day's notes.
" October 19. Visited the copper mines, and examined the old
excavations. The veins of sulphuret of copper run through a
whitish silicious rock, like the blue veins running through white
marble ; they vary in their knees, but traverse the whole sub
stance. The rock breaks easily ; and the pick appears to be the
only tool used formerly. Occasional veins of pure copper, very
yellow from the quantity of gold it contains, traverse the whole
mass. I saw in the rollers, lying over the mine, masses of the
blue limestone, supposed to be cretaceous ; the water had filled
many of the -abandoned chambers of the mine ; in others, the flies
had perched themselves in great numbers to pass the winter.
The fort which was built to defend the mines, was built in shape
of an equilateral triangle, with round towers at the corners ; it
was built of adobe, with walls four feet thick. The fort was still
in tolerable preservation ; some remains of the furnaces were left,
and piles of cinders ; but no idea could be formed of the manner
of smelting the ore, except, that charcoal, in quantities, was used.
Several hundred dollars' worth of ore had been got ready for smelt
ing when the place was abandoned. McKnight, who was for
nine years a prisoner in Chihuahua, made a fortune here, and
bandoned the mines in consequence of the Apache Indians cut-
184 GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
ting off' his supplies. At one time, they took eighty pack-muks
from him, (authority, Carson.) The mine is very extensive, and,
doubtless, immensely valuable. Water is abundant, and pasture
fine, and many lands which will furnish breadstuff's, by cultiva
tion. Wood is very abundant, and particularly in the vicinity.
Leaving the copper mines, the rocky masses soon show iron in
the greatest abundance ; then, going west, we came to the blue
limestone, standing vertical, ranging south, and bent so as to lie
level west. Through the seams of this limestone, some igneous
rocks had been interjected, and occasional masses of iron ore,
similar to that seen on the Blue and False Washita rivers. Then
we came to a mountain mass of the same rock as of the copper
mines. From this, westward, we came upon an amygdaloid of
all sorts of igneous rocks. The hills were not very lofty, so that,
gradually, we passed the great back-bone of America without per
ceiving it the dividing ridge between the Atlantic and Pacific.
The general set out to march fifteen miles to San Vicentia Spring ;
but finding no grass, he came on, expecting to find water a
Spanish guide said at three leagues, but it proved to be fifteen
miles further, where we all arrived after night. Before we left
the copper mines, some Apaches showed themselves ; and as we
came off, they rode upon a hill, made a smoke, and as we got
opposite them on the road, commenced calling out to us, * not to
be afraid, but come on.' We replied, * It is you that are afraid.
Why don't you come on ?' They then approached, but motioned
us all back but the guide, Carson, until he had a talk and satisfied
them. Some of our mules gave out to-day. Three Apaches
came to camp distance, thirty miles.
" October 20. The Apaches came to us this morning, as we did
not start until late. Red Sleeve came with fifteen or twenty per
sons, some women ; they ride small, but fine, horses. The high
roads leading from this mountain to Sonora and California,
show whence they came ; they are partly clothed like the Span
iards, with wide drawers, moccasins, and leggins to the knees ;
they carry a knife, frequently in the right leggin, on the outside ;
their moccasins have turned-up square toes, their hair is long, and
THE APACHES INDIANS. 183
mostly they have rfo head-dress ; some have hats, some fantastic
helmets ; they have some guns, but are mostly armed with lances
and bows and arrows, their lances pointed with stone points.
Carson remarked, yesterday, that he never knew how fine a wea
pon the bow and arrow was, until he had them fired at him in the
night ; at that time they are more sure than firearms, for they are
fired by the feel rather than the arms. The vegetation westward
from the copper mines grows thinner until we get to the Sierra
del Buno, which is a mountain, covered black with forest growth ;
the pine is found here, live oak, three kinds, the gama and other
fine grasses, some resembling timothy. A rain storm passed by
the heads of the Gila last night ; it is the first we have seen since
we left Santa Fe ; although high winds and heavy lightning beto
kened distant storms once or twice before, we have not yet been
sprinkled upon. Trading mules is dull work, with the Apaches.
Red Sleeve, Black Knife and Lasady, are the three principal
chiefs of the Apaches on the west of the Del Norte. Somez
is the head-man of those on the east of the Del Norte. There
is another band about south-west of this ; on the Panqatong moun
tain is another band. The Apaches near Taos are of the same
stock with these their whole people have not been together for a
long time. The general gave Red Sleeve and two other chiefs
papers to show he had talked with them, and that they had pro
mised perpetual friendship with the Americans ; they seemed all
anxious to conciliate the Americans, and they did not forget the
Shawnees ; the copper mines are in their country, which lies
north of the 32 of north latitude. Marched at 12 M., and de
scended a narrow, winding valley with a brisk running stream,
two or three feet wide, meandering through it, with a few trees
occasionally, and very tall grass. We found two small patches
where the Apaches had made corn ; the hills were high on each
side, composed of rugged masses of volcanic rock, and very few
trees. We followed this creek for five miles, and fell upon the
famous Gila, a beautiful mountain stream, about thirty feet wide,
and a foot deep on the shallows, with clear water and pebbly
bed, fringed with trees and hemmed in by mountains ; the bqttom
186 DESCENDING THE GILA.
not more than a mile wide. The signs of leaver, the bear, the
deer, and the \urkey, besides the tracks of herds of Indian horses,
were plain to be seen on the sand. We came down the river
about two miles and a half more, about south, and encamped at the
head of one of its canons, preparatory to a long journey over
rocky hills to-morrow. Northward from where we struck the
river, is an open country, lying west of a very high mountain,
called the Gila Mountain, in which it is said the Salt forks also
head. Our camp was well supplied with fine fish from the river,
resembling, a little, the black bass ; its flesh was not firm, but very
delicate. The California quail abounds in the bottoms. A new sort
of sycamore tree made its appearance here ; it has a bark pre
cisely like our own sycamore tree, or button-wood, and a leaf
resembling the maple ; the leaves are now yellow with the frost,
as they are of the most deciduous plants. Found some of the
fruit of the black walnut of this country ; it is about half the size
of our black walnut, and not rough on the outside as ours, but
shows the veins of the seams of the outer bark ; the roses, the
hops, mosquits, and poison-oaks looked familiar, and some other
plants known in the United States, names unknown. Just as we
were leaving camp to-day, an old Apache chief came in and ha
rangued the general, thus : ' You have taken Santa Fe ; let us
go on and take Chihuahua and Sonora ; we will go with you.
You fight for the soul, we fight for plunder, so we will agree per
fectly : their people are bad Christians, let us give them a good
The route lay onwards through a wild country of occasional ferti
lity and sterility mountains, and valleys, and canons crossing and
recrossing the Gila the San Francisco passed, as also the San Pedro,
&c. meeting frequently parties of Apache Indians, but unable to
bring them to an interview at camp in any number, &c., until the
10th of November, and here the "notes" are given in detail :
"November 10. Marched about eight o'clock ; and after march
ing six miles, still passing plains which had once been occupied,
we saw to our left the "Casa de Montezuma." I rode to it, and
found the remains of the walls of four buildings ; and the piles of
THE CASA DE MONTEZUMA. 187
earth showing where many others had been. One of the build
ings was still quite complete, as a ruin ; the others had all crum
bled, but a few pieces of low broken wail. The large casa was
fifty feet by forty, and had been four stories high ; but the floors
and roof had long since been burnt out. The charred ends of the
cedar joist were still in the wall. I examined them, and found that
they had not been cut with a steel instrument. The joists were
round sticks, about four feet in diameter. There were four en
trances north, south, east, and west the doors about four feet by
two ; the rooms as below, and had the same arrangement on each
story. There was no sign of a fire-place in the building. The
lower story was filled with rubbish, and above it was open to the
sky. The walls were four feet thick at the bottom, and had a
curved inclination inwards to the top. The house was built of a
sort of white earth and pebbles, probably containing lime, which
abounded on the ground adjacent. The walls had been smoothed
outside, and plastered inside ; and the surface still remained firm,
although it was evident they had been exposed to great heat from
the fire. Some of the rooms did not open to all the rest, but had
a hole, a foot in diameter, to look through ; in other places were
smaller holes. About two hundred yards from this building was
a mound, in a circle a hundred yards around the mound. The
centre was a hollow, twenty-five yards in diameter, with two
vamps or slopes going down to its bottom. It was probably a well,
now partly filled up. A similar one was seen near Mount Dallas.
A few yards further, in the same direction, northward, was a ter
race, one hundred yards by seventy, about five feet high. Upon
this was a pyramid, about eight feet high, twenty-five yards square
at top. From this, sitting on my horse, I could overlook the vast
plain lying north-east and west, on the left bank of the Gila. The
ground in view was about fifteen miles all of which, it would
seem, had been irrigated by the waters of the Gila. I picked up
a broken crystal of quartz in one of these piles. Leaving the
casa, I turned towards the Pimos, and travelling at random over
the plain, (now covered with mosquit,) the piles of earth and pot
tery showed for hours in every direction. I also found the remains
188 THE PIMOS INDIANS.
of a sicia, which followed the range of houses for miles. It had
been very large. When I got to camp, I found them on good
grass, and in communication with the Pimos, who came out with
a frank welcome. Their answer to Carson, when he went up and
asked for provisions, was, * Bread is to eat, not to sell take what you
want.' The general asked a Pimo who made the house I had seen.
' It is the Casa de Montezuma,' said he. ' It was built by the son
of the most beautiful woman who once dwelled in yon mountain.
She was fair, and all the handsome men came to court her, but in
vain. When they came, they paid tribute, and out of this small
store she fed all people in times of famine, and it did not diminish.
At last, as she lay asleep, a drop of rain fell upon her navel, and
she became pregnant, and brought forth a boy, who was the builder
of all these houses.' He seemed unwilling to talk about them ;
but said there were plenty more of them to the north, south, west,
&c. He said when he first knew this casa, it was in better preser
vation ; but that it had been burnt too long ago for any of them to
remember. I showed him the hieroglyphic, but he did not under
stand it. Some other Pirnos and Cocomaricopas arrived, and mes
sengers were sent to their village to buy water-melons and provi
sions, which soon came, although it was several miles. They
wanted white beads for what they had to sell, and knew the value
of money. Seeing us eating, the interpreter told the general he
had tasted the liquor of Sonora and New Mexico, and would like
to taste a sample of that of the United States. The dog had a
liquorish tooth, and when given a drink of French brandy, pro
nounced it better than any he had ever seen or tasted. The Mari-
copa messenger came to ask the general what his business ^as,
and where he was going ? He said his people were at peace with
all the world, except some of their neighbours, the Apaches, and
they did not desire any more enemies. He was of course told to
say to his chief that our object was merely to pass peaceably
through their country ; that we had heard a great deal of the
Pimos, and knew them to be a good people ; we were all struck
with their unassumed ease and confidence in approaching our camp
not like the Apaches, who bayed at us like their kindred wolves,
CROSSING A DESERT. 189
until the smell of tobacco and other (to them) agreeable things gave
them assurance enough to approach us. The Pimos and Coco-
maricopas live alongside of each other, but are a distinct people,
speaking different languages ; the latter once lived near the mouth
of the Gila. The Pimos have long lived at their present abode,
and are known to all the trappers as a virtuous and industrious
people. They and the Maricopas number over two thousand souls.
At the river I saw a cinder, which might have been from the smelt
ing of some ore."
After a short rest here, they prepared to cross the Tesotal, a
desert of forty miles, without water or grass. The animals were
brought up to a well dug by the dragoons, and given as much
water as they would drink, some of them swilling enormously, as
if in anticipation of privation. This desert passed, their progress
lay along the table-land until they gradually got into the bottom of
the Gila again, at the point of Big Horn Mountain, on the 15th of
November. Here their supply of beef gave out, and they were
reduced to beans, corn, and the flesh of their horses.
Capt. Johnston's own words, as the interest of the narrative
quickens, are resorted to.
(At the Pimos village, Gen. Kearny had heard a rumour of a
force being raised in Sonora to interrupt him ; and by Lieut.
Emory's capture of the mail, on the 22d, further particulars were
" November 22. Marched at the usual hour, and continued
down the Gila. On the left bank, the first eight or nine miles, the
road was rough ; passed through a canon. The canon was wide;
but we had to clamber along the edge of the hills. In many
places the road was insecure, from its being a long declivity.
After leaving this canon, we found ourselves in a bottom, which
lay to the west, and which proved to be the delta between the
Gila and Colorado. We inarched about twenty-one miles, and
found ourselves near the junction of those rivers. We discovered
the greatest abundance of recent signs of horses, and began to
think, in truth, that Gen. Castro may have returned from Sonora
with a large mounted force, to regain possession of California.
190 GEN. CASTRO'S HORSES.
The signs proved to be very fresh, and indicated that, to whomso
ever they belonged, they were not more than half a day off. The
speculations, of course, were various, and all the knowledge of
sign-studying put in practice. Carson went down the river, and
discovered fresh signs of fires of half-a-dozen messes, with no mi
litary regularity, and a trail coming from the crossing half a mile
wide, indicating a great number of loose animals. No trail could
be discovered leading away from this place. The signs of very
few men could be seen. A woman's track was found, a dead colt,
colt tracks, and, finally, straggling men were seen. Fires were
discovered in the bottom, up the Gila ; and Lieut. Emory went
with twenty men to reconnoitre them, and found the camp of a
party of Spaniards from California, with 400 or 500 animals,
going to Sonora. He brought some of them to camp, and, as
usual, they lied so much that we could get very little out of them.
One of them told us, in confidence, that we would find 800 men
in arms at the Pueblo, opposed to the Americans ; and that a party
was at San Diego, friendly to the United States, of 200 ; and that
three ships of war, he heard, were at San Diego, and advised us
to be on our guard as we advanced. One of the others said the
Mexicans were quiet at the Pueblo, and that the Americans had
quiet possession of all the country. They were dismissed for the
night, and the general determined not to lose so good a chance to
get fresh animals. Camp on dry grass in the sand-hills.
"November 23. The Mexicans came to camp on poor animals,
and said they had no very good ones. They evidently are dis
posed to be shy and uncommunicative. One of them, who re
ported in confidence about the 800 men at Angeles, tells us that
they had killed several Americans at the Puebla. They say the
Jornada is fifty miles without water ; that they were lost upon it,
and found water half way, by accident. One of them was caught
by Lieut. Emory with a bundle of letters, some of which were to
Gen. Castro one giving an account of the rising of the Mexicans,
and placing one Flores at their head at the Pueblo de los Angeles.
Another letter to a different person, was to the effect that eighty
Mexican cavalry had chased 400 Americans at the ravines between
JUNCTION OF THE GILA AND COLORADO. 191
the Puebla and San Pedro, and had driven them back, and had
captured a cannon called the Teazer. Their letters being opened,
were re-sealed by Capt. Turner, and all returned to the man, who
was discharged with them. These fellows tell various stories
about the ownership of the horses. They acknowledge that a
part of them belong to Gen. Castro. We are encamped one and
a half miles south of the junction of the Gila and Colorado. These
two rivers join together, and run through a stone hill, through
which they have broken a passage, although there are bottom
lands on either side of the hill, by which they may once have
flowed. The place is remarkable ; and, being the junction of two
important rivers, (both of which are to a certain degree navigable
this point being also a point in the route from Sonora to Califor
nia,) may one day fill a large space in the world's history. The
Colorado disappears from here in a vast bottom. The last we can
see of its cotton-woods is in the south-west, beyond which lies a
low range of mountains whether on the right or left bank, is not
plain probably on the right bank. Toiling about through the
sand-hills, in thick boots, one is convinced that, to perform a jour
ney on foot in this country, a moccasin with a thick but elastic
sole is far preferable to the boot. The condition of our animals is
sad enough to take the Jornada. Poor animals that have come
with us from the United States will lay their bones on the desert.
Some of the few horses we brought through, are not able to go on.
An animal fat and well rested in New Mexico could have come
By the 38th, they had with great suffering passed the Jornada,
or desert, of about ninety miles. Many of the animals they were
obliged to leave to perish there.
The horses of which Capt. Johnston gives details, afterwards
were found to have been sent by the Californians, under a small
escort, thus far on their way for the benefit of Mexican reinforce
ments to be raised in Sonora. When taken, they had scarce re
covered from crossing the Jornada, and returning over the same,
made the capture almost useless.
On the 30th, the men killed a horse for food. On inspection,
192 HORSES GIVE UP.
they were found all wellnigh naked some of them barefoot and
much weatherbeaten, but no signs of quailing in their swarthy
The narrative of the four next days we give in the words of
" December 1. The first day of winter; we left camp at the
usual hour, and found the air cold and chilly. The mountain
peaks on the coast-range are covered with snow slightly. The
whole of yesterday these peaks were covered with clouds, which
drifted off in loose masses over the desert. This morning most of
the clouds had disappeared, and a strong wind blew from the west.
Our route for the day was devious, through narrow passes, with
out any great elevation a bad road for our little howitzers, and
impassable, without work for wagons. We marched eighteen
miles, and encamped at the Vegas San Felipe, near the deserted
Indian village ; the rocks were mostly of mica-slate and granite.
The water of the Vegas is apparently fresh, but the adjacent
swamp is salt, and the grass bad for animals, especially at this
season the grass, the long, salty grass of the Del Norte, and the
" December 2. Marched at the usual hour. Our animals hav
ing spent a bad night, from the cold and bad grass, the few remain
ing horses, except one, gave out to-day, having been purged by
the grass, and very much weakened. Our route was now over a
rolling country. About six miles we met some Mexicans escaping
out of the country, with women and children ; we allowed them
to pass free. They informed us of the existence of war still in
this country, so that we count now upon meeting the enemy. It
appears that there are no armed forces opposed to each other in
the field ; but that, generally, parties of California rancheros can
be found in every quarter. We will probably have a long time
with an unseen enemy, with no pitched battles. ATrived at War
ner's ranch, very unexpectedly to them. This point is about sixty
miles from San Diego, and perhaps eighty from the Pueblo. It is
occupied by an American from Connecticut, who settled in this
country and became naturalized, married, &c. He is now on the
WARNER'S SETTLEMENT. 193
main route leading to Sonora, and of course is very much exposed
to both parties. He is now said to be a prisoner in the hands of
the Americans. Our approach to California improves to-day, and
we came part of the day under the shade of fine live-oak trees,
and, on the mountain-tops, clumps of lofty pines. As we came to
Warner's, we got upon the western slope of mountains ; and here
nature had made pretty successful efforts to clothe her nakedness ;
the shrubs and trees almost hid the rocks of the mountains, and
the hills had grass in abundance, but still nothing like the luxu
riant growth of the prairies of Missouri, but doubtless a most en
chanting sight when it is green, to one who has just crossed the
desert. We found Warner's a place which would be considered
a poor location in the United States, with a hot and a cold spring
on his place a good place for stock, but bad for grain, one would
think. We are told wheat yields thirty-fold. The labour is per
formed by California Indians, who are stimulated to work by $3
per month and repeated floggings. We encamped a quarter of a
mile west of the warm spring. Having heard of a herd of mules
fifteen miles hence, belonging to Flores, the insurgent chief, Lieut.
Davidson, with twenty-five men, was despatched, with Carson and
Saunders, to see if we could get a remount ; they started at dark.
A Mr. Stokes, an Englishman, who lives fifteen miles hence, came
to camp, and gave us information that Com. Stockton was at Diego,
with the larger part of his naval force ; that he had to remain
neutral. A letter was sent to Com. Stockton ; and it was deter
mined to remain at this point until morning, and determine whe
ther to march upon San Diego or the Pueblo, or to halt on the
Sonora outlet, until it was known what was to be done with the
American prisoners said to be in the hands of the rancheros. We
hear that the Californians are very savage, killing any one of their
people whom they suspect of treachery, and forcing those who
are unwilling to join them. We were struck with the fact, that a
furious wind blew in our faces as we approached the coast-range ;
but, after crossing it, we found all calm, and were told that there
had been no wind.
194 STOKES'S RANCHOS.
"December 3. Lieut. Davidson and Carson returned about noon,
with a large gang of tame and wild animals, most of which are
said to belong to Flores, the Californian general. After them,
came a party of French, English, and a Chilian, claiming their
riding animals, as they were going out of the country, which the
General gave them. Many of the animals from the herd were
put into, service, and arrangements made to secure the balance by
driving them into some safe place in the mountain. Lay by for
the rest of the day ; did not have time to examine the agua
caliente, but it is said to be remarkable.
"December 4. Marched at 9, and took the route for San Diego to
communicate with the naval forces, and to establish our depot, not
knowing yet in what state we would find the country. Marched
15 miles in a rain, cold and disagreeable, and encamped at Santa
Isabella, a former ranch of the San Diego mission, now, by hook
or crook, in the possession of an Englishman named Stokes. Here
hospitality was held out to us. Stokes having gone to San Diego,
we ate heartily of stewed and roast mutton and tortillas. We
heard of a party of Californians of 80 men encamped a distance
from this ; but the informant varied from 16 to 30 miles in his
account, rendering it too uncertain to make a dash on them in a
dark, stormy night, so we slept till morning."
Here end the " rough notes" of a gallant soldier. His profes
sion called upon him to offer up his life at any moment the ser
vice of his country required it. Here he dropped the pen he had
used with such ability, to draw his sword in combat from whence
he never returned to cheer his sorrowing companions-in-arms, in
whose memory he ever lives, as he will in that of his country ;
to use the language of Gen. Kearny " a loss to his commander,
to his regiment, and, more than all, to his country."
The rapid summary of the route given in Gen. Kearny's offi
cial despatches supplies the latitude of several places, and other
omissions above, while conciseness and importance affords no
excuse for its omission ; the narrative is therefore continued in the
language of the " official" despatches.
GEN. KEARNY'S REPORT. 195
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE WEST,
San Diego, Upper California, Dec. 12, 1846.
SIR : As I have previously reported to you, I left Santa Fe
(New Mexico) for this country on the 25th September, with 300
of the First Dragoons, under Major Sumner. We crossed to the
bank of the Del Norte at Albuquerque, (65 miles below Santa
Fe,) continuing down on that bank till the (Jth October, when we
met Mr. Kit Carson, with a party of 16 men, on his way to
Washington city, with a mail and papers, an express from Com,
Stockton and Lieut. Col. Fremont, reporting that the Californias
were already in possession of the Americans under their com
mand ; that the American flag was flying from every important
position in the territory, and that the country was for ever free
from Mexican control ; the war ended, and peace and harmony
established among the people. In consequence of this informa
tion, I directed that 200 dragoons, under Major Sumner, should
remain in New Mexico, and that the other 100, with two mountain
howitzers, under Capt. Moore, should accompany me as a guard
to Upper California. With this guard, we continued our march
to the south, on the right bank of the Del Norte, to the distance
of about 230 miles below Santa Fe, when, leaving that river on
the 15th October, in about the 33d deg. of latitude, we marched
westward for the Copper mines, which we reached on the 18th,
and on the 20th reached the river Gila, proceeded down the Gila,
crossing and recrossing it as often as obstructions in our front
rendered necessary; on the llth November reached the Pimos
village, about 80 miles from the settlements in Sonora. These
Indians we found honest, and living comfortably, having made a
good crop th'is year ; and we remained with them two days, to
rest our men, recruit our animals, and obtain provisions. On the
22d November, reached the mouth of the Gila, in latitude about
32 degrees our whole march on this river having been nearly
500 miles, and, with but very little exception, between the 32d
and 33d parallels of latitude.
This river, (the Gila,) more particularly the northern side, is
bounded nearly the whole distance by a range of lofty mountains ;
196 GEN. KEARNY'S REPORT.
and if a tolerable wagon road to its mouth from the Del Norte is
ever discovered, it must be on the south side. The country is
destitute of timber, producing but few cotton-wood and musquit
trees ; and though the soil on the bottom lands is generally good,
yet we found but very little grass or vegetation, in consequence of
the dryness of the climate and the little rain which falls here.
The Pimos Indians, who make good crops of wheat, corn, vege
tables, &c., irrigate the land by water from the Gila, as did the
Aztecs, (the former inhabitants of the country,) the remains of
whose sequias, or little canals, were seen by us, as well as the
position of many of their dwellings, and a large quantity of broken
pottery and earthenware used by them.
We crossed the Colorado about 10, miles below the mouth of
the Gill, and marching near it about 30 miles further, turned off
and crossed the desert a distance of about 60 miles without
water or grass.
On the 2d December, reached Warner's rancho, (Agua Cali-
ente,) the frontier settlement in California, on the route leading to
Sonora. On the 4th we marched to Mr. Stokes's rancho, (San Isa
bella,) and on the 5th, were met by a small party of volunteers,
under Capt. Gillespie, sent out from San Diego, by Com. Stockton,
to give us what information they possessed of the enemy, 600 or
700 of whom are now said to be in arms and in the field through
out the territory, determined upon opposing the Americans and
resisting their authority in the country. Encamped that night
near another rancho (San Maria) of Mr. Stokes, about 40 miles
from San Diego.
The journals and maps, kept and -prepared by Capt. Johnston,
(my aid-de-camp,) and those by Lieut. Emory, Topographical
Engineers, which will accompany or follow this report, will render
any thing further from me, on this subject, unnecessary.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general, U. S. A*
Brigadier-general. R. JONES,
Adjutant- general, U. S. A.
' H itei
BATTLE OF SAN PASQUAL. 199
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OP THE WEST,
San Diego, Upper California, Dec. 13, 1846.
SIR : In my communication to you of yesterday's date, I brought
the reports of the movements of my guard up to the morning of
the 5th instant, in camp near a rancho of Mr. Stokes, (Santa Maria,)
about 40 miles from San Diego.
Having learned from Capt. Gillespie, of the volunteers, that
there was an armed party of Californians, with a number of
extra horses at San Pasqual, three leagues distant, on a road lead
ing to this place, I sent Lieut. Hammond, First Dragoons, with a
few men to make a reconnoissance of them. He returned at two
in the morning of the 6th instant, reporting that he had found the
party in the place mentioned, and that he had been seen, though
not pursued by them. I then determined that I would march for
and attack them by break of day. Arrangements were accord
ingly made for the purpose. My aid-de-camp, Capt. Johnston,
dragoons, was assigned to the command of the advanced guard
of twelve dragoons, mounted on the best horses we had ; then
followed about fifty dragoons under Captain Moore, mounted, with
but few exceptions, on the tired mules they had ridden from Santa
Fe, (New Mexico, 1050 miles ;) then about twenty volunteers of
Captain Gibson's company under his command, and that of Capt.
Gillespie ; then followed our. two mountain howitzers, with dra
goons to manage them, and under the charge of Lieut. Davidson,
of the 1st regiment. The remainder of the dragoons, volunteers,
and citizens, employed by the officers of the staff, &c., were
placed under the command of Major Swords, (quartermaster,) with
orders to follow on our trail with the baggage, and to see to its
As the day (December 6) dawned, we approached the enemy at
San Pasqual, who was already in the saddle, when Capt. Johnston
made a furious charge upon them with his advance guard, and
was in a short time after supported by the dragoons ; soon after
which the enemy gave way, having kept up from the beginning a
continued fire upon us. Upon the retreat of the enemy, Capt.
Moore led off rapidly in pursuit, accompanied by the dragoons,
200 BATTLE OF SAN PASQUAL.
mounted on horses, and was followed, though slowly, by the others
on their tired mules ; the enemy, well mounted, and among the
best horsemen in the world, after retreating about half a mile, and
seeing an interval between Capt. Moore with his advance, and the
dragoons coming to his support, rallied their whole force, charged
with their lances, and, on account of their greatly superior num
bers, but few of us in front remained untouched ; for five minutes
they held the ground from us, when our men coming up, we
again drove them, and they fled from the field, not to return to it,
which we occupied and encamped upon.
A most melancholy duty now remains for me r it is to report the
death of my aid-de-camp, Capt. Johnston, who was shot dead at
the commencement of the action ; of Capt. Moore, who was lanced
just previous to the final retreat of the enemy ; and of Lieut. Ham
mond, also lanced, and who survived but a few hours. We had
also killed two sergeants, two corporals, and ten privates of the
First Dragoons ; one private of the volunteers, and one man, an
engage in the topographical department. Among the wounded
are myself, (in two places,) Lieut. Warner, Topographical Engi
neers, (in three places,) Capts. Gillespie and Gibson of the volun
teers, (the former in three places,) one sergeant, one bugleman, and
nine privates of the dragoons ; many of these surviving from two
to ten lance wounds, most of them when unhorsed and incapable
Our howitzers were not brought into the action ; but coming to
the front at the close of it, before they were turned, so as to admit
of being fired upon the retreating enemy, the two mules before
one of them got alarmed, and freeing themselves from their drivers,
ran ofT, and among the enemy, and was thus lost to us.
The enemy proved to be a party of 160 Californians under An
dreas Pico, brother of the late governor ; the number of their dead
and wounded must have been considerable, though I have no means
of ascertaining how many, as just previous to their final retreat,
they carried off all excepting six.
The great number of our killed and wounded proves that our
officers and men have fully sustained the high character and repu-
BATTLE OF SAN PASQUAL. 201
tation of our troops ; and the victory thus gained over more than
double our force, may assist in forming the wreath of our national
I have to return my thanks to many for their gallantry and good
conduct on the field, and particularly to Capt. Turner, First Dra
goons, (assistant acting adjutant-general,) and to Lieut. Emory,
Topographical Engineers, who were active in the performance of
their duties, and in conveying orders from me to the command.
On the morning of the 7th, having made ambulances for our
wounded, and interred the dead, we proceeded on our march,
when the enemy showed himself, occupying the hills in our front,
but which they left as we approached ; till, reaching San Bernado,
a party of them took possession of a hill near to it, and maintained
their position until attacked by our advance, who quickly drove
them from it, killing and wounding five of their number, with no
loss on our part.
On account of our wounded men, and upon the report of the
surgeon that rest was necessary for them, we remained at this place
till the morning of the llth, when Lieut. Gray, of the Navy, in
command of a party of sailors and marines, sent out from San
Diego by Com. Stockton, joined us. We proceeded at 10, A. M.,
the enemy no longer showing himself; and on the 12th, (yester
day,) we reached this place ; and I have now to offer my thanks to
Com. Stockton, and all of his gallant command, for the very many
kind attentions we have received and continue to receive from
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY, Brig. Gen. U. S. A.
Brigadier-general R. JONES,
Adjutant- general U. S. .#., Washington.
HEAD-aUAKTERS ARMY OF THE WEST,
Ciudad de los dngeles, Upper California, Jan. 12, 1847.
SIR : I have the honour to report that, at the request of Com. R.
F. Stockton, United States Navy, (who in September last assumed
the title of governor of California,) I consented to take command
of an expedition to this place, (the capital of the country,) and that,
202 BATTLE OF SAN GABRIEL.
on the 29th December, I left San Diego with about 500 men, con
sisting of sixty dismounted dragoons under Capt. Turner, fifty
California volunteers, and the remainder of marines and sailors,
with a battery of artillery Lieut. Emory (Topographical Engi
neers) acting as assistant adjutant-general. Com. Stockton accom
We proceeded on our route without seeing the enemy, till on the
8th instant, when they showed themselves in full force of 600
mounted men, with four pieces of artillery, under their governor,
(Flores,) occupying the heights in front of us, which commanded
the crossing of the river San Gabriel, and they ready to oppose
our further progress. The necessary disposition of our troops was
immediately made, by covering our front with a strong party of
skirmishers, placing our wagons and baggage train in rear of them,
and protecting the flanks and rear with the remainder of the com
mand. We then proceeded, forded the river, carried the heights,
and drove the enemy from them, after an action of about an hour
and a half, during which they made a charge upon our left flank,
which was repulsed ; soon after which they retreated and left us
in possession of the field, on which we encamped that night.
The next day (the 9th instant) we proceeded on our march at
tne usual hour, the enemy in our front and on our flanks : and
when we reached the plains of the Mesa, their artillery again
opened upon us, when their fire was returned by our guns as we
advanced ; and after hovering around and near us for about two
hours, occasionally skirmishing with us during that time, they
concentrated their force and made another charge on our left flank,
which was quickly repulsed ; shortly after which they retired, we
continuing our march, and we (in the afternoon) encamped on the
banks of the Mesa, three miles below this city, which we entered
the following morning (the 10th instant) without further molest
Our loss in the actions of the 8th and 9th was small, being but
one private killed, and two officers, Lieut. Rowan of the navy,
and Capt. Gillespie, of the Volunteers,* and eleven privates
wounded. The enemy, mounted on fine horses, and being the
I 6- i5.SB&2 53
LISTS OF KILLED AND WOUNDED. 205
best riders in the world, carried off their killed and wounded, and
we know not the number of them, though it must have been con
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general R. JONES, Brigadier-general.
Adjutant-general^ U. S. Jl., Washington.
Statement of killed and wounded in the action of the 8th
Killed. Frederick Strauss, seaman, United States ship Ports
mouth, artillery corps ; cannon-shot in neck.
Wounded. 1st. Jacob Hait, volunteer, artillery driver, wound
in left breast ; died on evening of 9th. 2d. Thos. Smith, ordi
nary seaman, United States ship Cyane, company D, musketeers,
shot, by accident, through the right thigh ; died on night of the
8th. 3d. William Cope, seaman, United States ship Savannah,
company B, musketeers, wound in the right thigh and right arm ;
severe. 4th. George Bantum, ordinary seaman, United States
ship Cyane, pikeman, punctured wound of hand, accidental;
slight. 5th. Patrick Cambell, seaman, United States ship Cyane,
company D, musketeers, wound in thigh by spent ball ; slight.
6th. William Scott, private, United States marine corps, ship
Portsmouth, wound in the chest, spent ball ; slight. 7th. James
Hendry, seaman, United States ship Congress, company A, mus
keteers, spent ball, wound over stomach ; slight. 8th. Joseph
Wilson, seaman, United States ship Congress, company A, mus
keteers, wound in right thigh, spent ball ; slight. 9th. Ivory
Coffin, seaman, United States ship Savannah, company B, mus
keteers, contusion of right knee, spent ball ; slight.
Wounded on the 9th. 1st. Mark A. Child, private, company
C, First Regiment United States Dragoons, gunshot wound in
right heel, penetrating upwards into the ankle-joint ; severe.
3d. James Cambell, ordinary seaman, United States ship Congress,
company D, carbineers, wound in right foot, second toe ampu
tated ; accidental discharge of his own carbine. 3d. George
206 COL. FREMONT- REPORTS TO GEN. KEARNY.
Crawford, boatswain's mate, United States ship Cyane, company
D, musketeers, wound in left thigh ; severe. Lieut. Rowan,
United States navy, and Capt. Gillespie, California battalion,
volunteers, contused slightly by spent balls.
I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN S. GRIFFiN,
Capt. WM. H. EMORY, Assistant Surgeon, U. S. N.
Assistant Adjutant-general, U. S. forces.
CIUDAD DE LOS -ANGELES, California, Jan. 11, 1847.
HEA.D-Q.TTAIITERS, ARMT OF THE WEST,
Ciudad de log Jlngele&, Upper California, January 14, 1847.
SIR : This morning, Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, of the regi
ment of mounted riflemen, reached here with 400 volunteers from
the Sacramento ; the enemy capitulated with him yesterday, near
San Fernando, agreeing to lay down their arms, and we have now
the prospect of having peace and quietness in this country, which
I hope may not be interrupted again.
I have not yet received any information of the troops which
were to come from New York, nor of those to follow me from
New Mexico, but presume they will be here before long. On
their arrival, I shall, agreeably to the instructions of the President
of the United States, have the management of affairs in this coun
try, and will endeavour to carry out his views in relation to it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general R. JONES, Brigadier-general.
Adjutant-general, U. S. A., Washington.
It will be seen that Col. Fremont reported his command, as
above, to Gen. Kearny. It was a few days afterwards, that un
happy difficulties arose between the parties in high command as
to their relative powers. These ended in Gen. Kearny's proceed
ing to San Diego, and from thence, by water, to Monterey, where,
as will be seen by the joint "Circular," given in another chapter,
Gen. Kearny was assigned, on the 1st of March, 1847, under
authority of the President, "the direction of the operations on
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GOV. KEARNY'S PROCLAMATION. 209
land," and invested " with administrative functions of government
over the people and territory occupied by the forces of the United
At San Diego, Lieutenant-colonel Cooke joined Gen. Kearny
with the Mormon Battalion, which he had brought in with arms
bright, fine health, excellent discipline, and without any serious
loss from their long and weary march, and was posted at the
mission of San Luis Rey to check any reinforcements to the Cali-
fornians from the State of Sonora.
The following is Gen. Kearny's proclamation on assuming the
civil government of California. Its re-translation from the Spanish
may involve some inaccuracies, however substantially accurate
the copy may otherwise be.
Proclamation to the People of California.
The President of the United States having devolved upon the
undersigned the civil government of California, he enters upon the
discharge of his duties with an ardent desire to promote as far as
is possible the interests of the country and well being of the inha
The undersigned is instructed by the President to respect and
protect the religious institutions of California, to take care that the
religious rights of its inhabitants are secured in the most ample
manner, since the Constitution of the United States allows to every
individual the privilege of worshipping his Creator in whatever
manner his conscience may dictate.
The undersigned is also instructed to protect the persons and
property of the quiet and peaceable inhabitants of the country
against each and every enemy, whether foreign or domestic ; and
now assuring the Californians that his inclinations, no less than
his duty, demand the fulfilment of these instructions, he invites
them to use their best efforts to preserve order and tranquillity, to
promote harmony and concord, and to maintain the authority and
efficacy of the laws.
It is the desire and intention of the United States to procure for
California as speedily as , possible a free government like that of
210 GOV. KEARNY'S PROCLAMATION.
their own territories, and they will very soon invite the inhabitants
to exercise the rights of free citizens in the choice of their own
representatives, who may enact such laws as they deem best
adapted to their interest and well-being. But until this takes
place, the laws actually in existence, which are not repugnant to
the Constitution of the United States, will continue in force until
they are revoked by competent authority ; and persons in the ex
ercise of public employments will for the present remain in them,
provided they swear to maintain the said constitution, and faith
fully discharge their duties.
The undersigned by these presents absolves all the inhabitants
of California of any further allegiance to the Republic of Mexico, and
regards them as citizens of the United States. Those who remain
quiet and peaceable will be respected and protected in their rights ;
but should any one take up arms against the government of this
territory, or join such as do so, or instigate others to do so all
these he will regard as enemies, and they will be treated as such.
When Mexico involved the United States in war, the latter had
not time to invite the Californians to join their standard as friends,
but found themselves compelled to take possession of the country
to prevent its falling into the hands of some European power. In
doing this, there is no doubt that some excesses, some unauthorized
acts, were committed by persons in the service of the United States,
and that in consequence some of the inhabitants have sustained
losses in their property. These losses shall be duly investigated,
and those who are entitled to indemnification shall receive it.
For many years California has suffered great domestic convul
sions ; from civil wars, like poisoned fountains, have flowed
calamity and pestilence over this beautiful region. These fountains
are now dried up ; the stars and stripes now float over California,
and as long as the sun shall shed its light, they will continue to
wave over her, and over the natives of the country, and over those
who shall seek a domicile in her bosom ; and under the protection
of this flag, agriculture must advance, and the arts and sciences
will flourish like seed in rich and fertile soil.
Americans and Californians ! from henceforth one people. Let
SUMMARY OF EVENTS. 211
us then indulge one desire, one hope ; let that be for the peace
and tranquillity of our country. Let us unite like brothers, and
mutually strive for the mutual improvement and advancement of
this our beautiful country, which within a short period cannot fail
to be not only beautiful, but also prosperous and happy.
Given at Monterey, capital of California, this 1st day of March,
of the year of our Lord, 1847, and of the Independence of the
United States the 71st.
S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general U. S. A., and Governor of California.
On the 2d of March, Gen. Kearny ordered the government
archives to Monterey, the reorganization of the California bat
Early in this month, Lieut. Emory, the adjutant-general of
Gen. Kearny 's forces, and Lieut. Gray of the navy, were sent
home with important despatches for the government, and arrived
in Washington in the latter part of April following.
Capt. Tompkins and his company, of the Third United States
Artillery, arrived very early in February, and were stationed at
Military supplies of the quarter-master's department had been
personally obtained from the Sandwich Islands by the strenuous
exertions of Major Swords.
On the 6th of March, Col. Stevenson arrived in the ship T. H.
Perkins, at San Francisco, with 250 of the New York California
Volunteers. The residue of the regiment followed soon after.
Col. Stevenson was ordered to occupy Monterey with four com
panies, and Lieutenant-colonel Burton, with three companies of
the same regiment, was stationed at Santa Barbara.
In the mean time a large proportion of the emigrants who came
to California the year before, and who had been immediately and
almost to a man called up to bear arms in defence of the American
flag, were with characteristic energy seeking settlements.
Towns and settlements were in progress. Fortifications were
being permanently erected at the most prominent assailable points.
212 TOWN OF SAN FRANCISCO.
At the Bay of San Francisco, a town of the same name arose,
and the site of the town is said to be the "most commanding com
mercial position on the entire western coast of the Pacific ocean."
Decree of Governor Kearny.
I, Brigadier-general S. W. Kearny, Governor of California, by
virtue of authority in me vested by the President of the United
States of America, do hereby grant, convey and release unto the
town of San Francisco, the people, or corporate authorities thereof,
all the right, title and interest of the government of the United
States, and the Territory of California, in and to the beach, and
water lots on the east front of said town of San Francisco, included
between the points known as the Rincon and Fort Montgomery,
excepting such lots as may be selected for the use of the United
States government by the senior officers of the army and navy
now there ; provided, the said ground hereby .ceded shall be
divided into lots, and sold by public auction to the highest bidder,
after three months' notice previously given the^ proceeds of said
sale to be for the benefit of the town of San Francisco.
Given at Monterey, capital of California, this 10th day of March,
1847, and the seventy-first year of the Independence of the United
States. S. W. KEARNY,
Brigadier-general and Governor of California.
Another town was located at Monterey Bay. In fact, govern
ment was established, a legislative council elected, civil officers
The time of the Mormon battalion, stationed at Monterey and at
San Diego, expired on the 16th of July, when the land forces
would consist of Col. Stevenson's regiment, one company of dra
goons, (at Los Angeles,) and one of light artillery, at Monterey.
With this force and naval co-operation, there existed no reason to
believe that the peaceful relations of the country would be again
The last act of Gen. Kearny was to order Lieut. Col. Burton to
proceed by sea to Lower California, and, disembarking at La Paz,
to take possession of that country.
RETURN OF GEN. KEARNY. 213
On the 31st of May, 1847, Gen. Kearny having devolved the
government on Col. Richard B. Mason, of the First Dragoons, as
governor and commander-in-chief, set out on his return to the
Gen. Kearny 's party consisted of Captains Turner and Cooke,
of the First Dragoons, and Major Thomas Swords of the United
States quartermaster department, all officers who had largely and
honourably participated in the conquest of California and New
Mexico, with Lieut. Radford, of the United States navy, who
had distinguished him at Mazatlan and in California. Willard P.
Hall of Missouri, who personated in New Mexico the citizen
soldier, aiding in its conquest as a private, and called from the
ranks to frame, with Doniphan and Kearny, its laws, now returned,
to find himself elected by the free suffrage of his fellow citizens
of Missouri, their representative in Congress, together with Dr.
Sanderson of Missouri, and Lieut. Col. Fremont with his original
The hazards and difficulties of their route contrast strangely
with the luxurious comforts of railroads, steamboats, stages and
turnpikes which traverse almost any equal distance of the extremes
of this wide Union. Their journey becomes the more interesting
that it affords some idea of the sufferings of the unprepared and
unprovided Mormons and emigrants, in a winter's passage of the
Did our design admit of detail, large and most interesting ex
tracts would be here made of Gen. Kearny 's, and others', route
homewards, from the journal of a gallant and highly intelligent
officer of his staff. The outlines must, however, suffice; except
ing that the burial of the dead emigrants claims a place in full.
" There was colder weather in March, in California, than had
been experienced there for twenty years. Before reaching Sutler's,
the party were forced to swim four or five mountain torrents,
swollen by the melting snow to the breadth of rivers the baggage
and provisions were crossed in skin boats made upon the spot.
Their progress was slow, and most laborious and hazardous ; and
214 HARDSHIPS OF THE EMIGRANTS.
one of the officers, Major Cooke, lost by an upset, save saddle and
blankets, his entire outfit, even to papers and specie."
The last rancho was left on the 18th of June. On the 21st
they struck the Juba, which was overflowing, hence they passed
higher up, and crossed the Sierra Nevada, on which the snow
was fifteen feet deep, and through which the mules were constantly
breaking and burying themselves. The mountain torrents were
all swollen as the winter suddenly changed to spring, while the
snow beneath their feet and overhanging from the mountain cliffs,
threatened to engulf or overwhelm them alternately or simultane
ously. Thus they passed the remains of (or rather clothes of)
Strattan, an emigrant, who, becoming snow-blind, had been aban
doned by his companions, and here starved to death. The party
of Gen. Kearny experienced great pain from the -reflection of the
snow, having to protect their eyes with their handkerchiefs.
" On the 22d, they had gone five miles beyond the beautiful
Turkey lake, surrounded by mountains capped with snow, when
they came to * Cannibal Camp,' so called from the deplorable state
to which a party of emigrants were reduced in the year 1846.
They had been overtaken by the snow and built cabins, intending
to winter. But the snow fell to the depth of twenty-five or thirty
feet, and out of eighty, forty-five perished there. Those that sur
vived lived on those that perished of starvation. The party found
a skull that had been sawn in two to reach its contents with
five perfect skeletons, and other remains. These were buried in
the best manner the means of the party admitted of. In fact, it is
stated, that from the time of their entering the mountains they had
been constantly passing the remains of some poor emigrant.
" On the eastern slope, they were forced to pass trackless moun
tains of black rock, by the Trucky (or Salmon Trout) river. In
the narrow pass, the road (made in autumn) very frequently
crosses it ; some of its small branches presented, besides a swim
ming deep torrent, hundreds of yards of dangerous bog and mire.
On this river they were visited by the ' Digger Indians.'
"The party were nearly out of provisions of all sorts when they
met the first emigrants at the falls of Snake river, (Lewis Fork,)
ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES. 215
25 miles beyond Fort Hall. They passed by that trading-post on
the 15th of July. On Bear river they obtained a recruit of horses
and mules from the Snake Indians.
"The party came the new road, about 50 miles, without water:
from Green river to Big Sandy. Besides some companies who
went round by Bridger's Fort, they met about 940 wagons of emi
grants all, or nearly all, bound to Oregon. The last were met
between the North Fork of Platte and Sweet Water, on the 28th
July ; they were believed to be, and considered themselves, too
late to reach Oregon ; and spoke of passing the winter at Fort
Bridger. They left St. Joseph about the 6th of June.
" At Fort Laramie the party found many lodges of Sioux, who
were quite friendly. They left that fort on the 3d inst. Next
day they met 685 wagons of Mormons, who were advancing very
slowly in parties of fifty ; they had come all the way by the north
bank of the Platte they expecting to winter on the great Salt
Lake ; and this, they assert, is to be the final resting-place of their
people. Incredible numbers of buffaloes were passed through for
several days, near the junction of the two Plattes. No Indians
were encountered after this time.
" The party was only 66 days from the settlements of California
to Fort Leavenworth, and made not a day's stop averaging for
the last 57 days 31 miles: whole distance near 2,200 miles."
From Fort Leavenworth, Gen. Kearny paid a short visit to his
family at St. Louis, Mo., where his friends and fellow-citizens
greeted his return with congratulations and festivities, from which
he hastened to Washington City, to attend an important court-
martial, which, if it evince the fact of any discord between com
manders as to relative rank, prerogative or deserving, can subtract
nothing from the united or individual gallantry of the conquest of
California and New Mexico.
216 COL. STERLING PRICE.
Col. Sterling Price Lieut. Col. Willock Missouri mounted Volunteers Gen.
Kearny Col. Doniphan Col. Price remains at Santa Fe Conspiracy
Gov. Bent's Proclamation Organization of Government Sickness of Troops
Enterprise and Amusements Revolution Murder of Gov. Bent and others
Americans to be put to death Letters intercepted Enemy approaching
Santa F6 Troops called together Advance on the Enemy Battles of Ca
nada and Embudo Battle of the Pueblo de Taos Death of Capt Burgwin
Funerals and graves' of Bent and Burgwin People urged to rise Massa
cresFight at Moro Capt Henley killed Capt Morin destroys the Town *
The Father-in-law of Archuleta Leaders delivered up Tried and Executed
State of Affairs in New Mexico Revolutionary Spirit Route between
Santa F6 and Fort Leavenworth dangerous Lieut. Peck Incidents of the
Desert Indians very Hostile Engagement with Apaches Lieut Brown
killed Surprise and Capture of Los Pias Loquesta, &c, Prisoners Exe
cutions Expiration of Terms of Service of Volunteers Lieut. Love's Battle
with the Indians Indian Aggression Measures taken to Repress and Punish
No organized resistance in New Mexico Arrival of new Levies Col.
Price created a Brigadier-general Visits Missouri to return to Santa FC".
UNDER an apprehension that the force which left Fort Leaven-
worth, in June, 1846, might not be sufficient fully to effect the
purposes of the expedition, which was, if found practicable, to
pass on to California, after conquering and securing New Mexico,
the President of the United States had accepted the services of an
additional regiment and battalion of Missouri mounted Volunteers,
who were sent on to Santa Fe, as reinforcements, and to augment
Gen. Kearny's disposable force for California ; but they had not
joined him when he departed for that country, on the 25th of
September. The commanders of these reinforcements were Col.
Sterling Price, who had resigned his seat in Congress to serve
under the eagles of the republic, and Lieut. Col. Willock, of Mis
The prompt and energetic manner in which Gen. Kearny con
ducted the Santa Fe expedition has been sketched. When he
determined to leave for Upper California, with only about one
MEXICAN CONSPIRACY. 217
hundred men, orders were left with Col. Doniphan to make the
march to Chihuahua, (which he so gloriously executed,) on the
arrival of Col. Price, then daily expected.
Col. Price, thus left in command of the residue of the army of
the west, had been instructed to occupy Santa Fe, Taos, and other
points of New Mexico with his troops.
On the -departure of Gen. Kearny for California, the inhabitants,
not only at Santa Fe, but throughout the whole of New Mexico,
were represented to be well satisfied with the change which had
taken place, and the general had reported that " there could no
longer be apprehended any organized resistance to our troops in
Rumours of a revolution, however, began to be spoken of among
the Mexicans in about two months after his departure, but the ap
parent willingness with which they submitted' to the new govern
ment established over them, lulled all into the belief of a quiet
An attempt to produce a revolution was concerted at the house
of Thomas Ortiz, where, on the night of the 15th of December,
met Don Thomas Ortiz, Don Diego Archuleta, Don Nicholas Pino,
Don Santiago Armijo, Don Miguel Pino, Don Manuel Charaez,
Don Domingo Boca, Don Pablo Dominguez, and Don Juan Lopez.
These principal chiefs of the revolt conspired to surprise the
guards, and to take bloody possession of Santa Fe. Ortiz was to
be in chief command, and Archuleta second in authority. The
first plan was for the conspirators to assemble with all their men,
on Saturday evening, the 19th of December, in the parish church.
Thence dividing themselves into several parties they were to sally
forth, some to seize the pieces of artillery, others to go to the
quarters of Col. Price, and others to go to the palace of Governor
Bent, if he should be in Santa Fe, and if not, to send an order to
Taos to seize him, thinking him the one who would give them
most trouble. This was agreed upon by all. The church bell
was to be the signal for the assault, from the forces concealed in
* Report of Secretary of War, Dec. 5, 1846.
218 GOV. BENT'S PROCLAMATION.
the building, and for those which Don Diego Archuleta should
have brought near the city. Midnight was the time agreed upon :
all were to enter the plaza at the same moment, seize the pieces
of artillery, point .them into the streets, &c.
The time was afterwards postponed, and the attempt was to
have been made on Christmas night, when a great number of New-
Mexicans were expected to congregate in Santa Fe, for the pur
pose of attending the ceremonies of the Catholic church, and that
they might gain tfver the whole department. For this last pur
pose, Archuleta was to go to the valley of Taos, and the leaders
to different sections of the country, but the whole plot was dis
closed to the Americans by Mexican women, and the authorities
were able to secure a good many of the leaders. Ortiz and Ar
chuleta fled. No positive evidence could be obtained against the
other leaders, and they were released upon promise of good beha
viour. Confidence was again restored. The Mexicans, previous
to the receipt of the news of Col. Doniphan's capture of Chihua
hua, were very haughty they would jostle the Americans in the
street refuse to speak with them, except to offer wagers that Col.
Doniphan was a prisoner in Chihuahua. As soon, however, as
intelligence of the battle was received, they became crest-fallen,
and full of friendly professions. This appearance of amity was
wholly deceptive. The fire of revenge was still burning beneath.
It was at this time that the following proclamation was issued :
Charles Bent, governor of the Territory of New Mexico, to the
FELLOW-CITIZENS : A concurrence of extraordinary events crowd
upon me, and furnish me with materials to address you for the first
time. I will not make use of eloquent or sublime language, for
truth needs not the ornaments of flattery to cause an impression
its attractions are inherent, and will always obtain credence.
I arrived in this country for the first time in 1829 ; from my
first acquaintance with it, your ingenuous and frank character
aroused my sympathy, which has now taken deep root, and I
joined my destiny to yours. New Mexico became my adopted
GOV. BENT'S PROCLAMATION. 219
country ; all my interests are centered in its soil, and the more so
at present, since joined to the United States, my native country, you
compose a part of the Union, the cradle of liberty.
Gen. S. W. Kearny took military possession of this Territory
on the 18th of August of last year, and he experienced the most
lively pleasure in finding that without the force of arms, with
out mourning, or tears, you acknowledged the republican govern
ment, to which you now belong. You are now governed by new
laws, and you now enjoy the free government promised to you by
his proclamation. Use this liberty with moderation. This will
enable you to gather the rich fruits which await you for the future.
Those who composed this blind opposition ; who, notorious for
their vices, and full of ambition, aspired to the first offices and
those who thought to bind the people slaves to their caprices, unde
ceived, and finding that they could not obtain the offices conferred
on honest and meritorious men Thomas Ortiz and the old revolu
tionist Diego Archuleta rushed forward desperately to head a
revolution against the present government. They collected in this
capital, in the middle of last month, a few heedless and unprinci
pled persons, who, after attending their meetings, were persuaded
to seize the standard of rebellion. This treason was discovered
very opportunely, and smothered at its birth ; they are now fugi
tives, but their doctrines are still disseminated among the people,
and cause some anxiety,.as the discontented who remain give pub
licity to their destructive plans.
The organic law and the statutes are the basis on which these
anarchists repose ; they say that contributions and land are the
maxims of the present government ; that it wishes to levy the
former and deprive you of the possession of the latter astounding
falsehood ! Examine the laws from the beginning to the end, and
you will not find a single page that upholds the falsity. The sta
tutes, it is true, impose duties on commerce, and on distilleries,
but in no manner do they impose taxes on the people. There is,
likewise, an office established for the registering of land-titles, but
this is to secure to you the titles of your property, and not to
despoil you of them, as the revolutionists would induce you to
220 AFFAIRS IN SANTA FE.
believe. They likewise avail themselves of other means to create
alarm, deceiving you by the report that troops are coming from the
interior to reconquer this country. What succour can you expect
from the department of Chihuahua, your nearest neighbour, when
there the spirit of party has crushed and reduced to a nullity its
Col. Doniphan, who was advancing on the Pueblo del Paso with
his regiment, was attacked by a superior force at the Punto del
Brazito in a few minutes they were routed with the loss of thirty
men. Such, my friends, are the futility and artifices with which
these turbulent spirits would delude you ! Listen not, I beseech
you, to their false and poisonous doctrines remain quiet in your
domestic occupations, that under the protection of the laws, you
may enjoy the unspeakable blessing offered, and uniting with your
government you may point out any measures which may tend to
the improvement of your country, and thus enjoy, individually, all
the happiness which your best friend wishes you.
_, . CHARLES BENT.
Santa Fe, January 5, 1847.
The organization of the government had progressed until the
numerous appointments, civil officers, &c., of the territory had
been filled up clerks of courts, prefects, or county judges, she
riffs, &c., had been made. Among these, James White Leal, a
volunteer of Capt. Hudson's company, was appointed attorney for
Taos, or the northern judicial district, and Stephen Lee, formerly
of St. Louis, but then a citizen, became the sheriff of the same.
In the meanwhile, there had been considerable sickness among
the troops, which resulted in thinning their ranks, and in a conclu
sion that, of the Missourians, the troops from the city of St. Louis
best preserved their health, those from St. Louis county next, and
the country troops least successfully. Many died from nearly
every company of the volunteers.
Nothing daunted, however, the spirit of enterprise among them
set every thing in motion. Mills were established, fortifications
erected, troops drilled, and a printing-press established. Nor were
amusements wanting. A Thespian society was organized, princi-
THE THEATRE AT SANTA FE. 221
pally from the men of St. Louis, and a room in the palacio was
permitted by the governor to be fitted up as a theatre scenes
painted, an orchestra organized, and, in fact, all appointments pro
vided. The gentlemen undertook all the characters, and were
well sustained by crowded houses. These dramatic entertainments
had most potent charms for the men of Col. Price's regiment. As
a relic of the time, " the bill" for the night of the 25th of Decem
ber is here given :
SANTA FE THEATRE!
ON CHKISTMAS NIGHT
Will be presented the tragedy of
Achmet * . V" * " . Mr. McSorley.
Othman *V-' * ';*'''.' . Livingston.
Yuseff . ;..-.., '. \ v r > >, *.;>>. Eldridge.
Aldm . . " .. '".._ . . '. Hinton.
Barbarossa . . "' *' '"""' "" . u .^ " r Thomas.
Sadi . . f% ' '. 'V'V -....-,-* Vfv.fr.-., - Work.
Hassan . -'..-. >' ; . . Johnson.
Slave . . . ', : - > Dot y-
Zaphira - . . . Miss Shands.
Irene . . ^ - T Chambers.
LA POLKA !
By an American gentleman and Spanish lady.
(j>Mr. CHAMBERS, (from Chicago,) the young Dempster, will sing "The
Maniac," Irish Emigrant's Lament," The Old Arm Chair," and the Blind
After which, the farce of
FORTUNE'S FROLIC !
Robin Roughhead Mr. McSorley.
Snacks . '. .... . . . Livingston.
Mr. Frank Shands.
Miss Nancy Miss Kennerly.
Dolly . Chambers.
Margery . . ... . . . Miller.
The whole to conclude with the
VIRGINIA MINSTRELS !
SONGS The Old Coloured Gentleman," " Get along home, you Spanish
Gals," Blue Tail Fly," and You aint good looking and you can't come in."
Q3> Doors open at 6 ; curtain rises at 6.
MURDER OF GOV. BENT.
At this period the Americans at Santa Fe had only about 500
effective men the rest were on the sick list or were, in detach
ments, at distant points of the country, whither the horses had been
sent to graze, on account of the want of forage of any kind within
any reasonable distance of Santa Fe, or were garrisoning outposts.
The civil government went into active operation. On the first of
December, Judge Hougton opened his first court at Santa Fe, and
delinquents became amenable to the laws, and to punishment, on
condemnation, after a fair trial.
Gov. Charles Bent had, previous to his installation, resided at
Taos, whither, confiding in this apparent tranquillity, he went, on
the 14th of January, to attend to some private business.
The Pueblos of Taos were accounted the most warlike and the
bravest race in Mexico; xertainly the circumstances of the murder
of Gov. Bent, on the 19th, evince their extreme barbarity. Two
Pueblo Indians had been confined in the calaboose at Taos, for
crime. The Indians from their village, two miles distant, came to
the prison and demanded their release from the sheriff, Stephen L.
Lee, who, perceiving his life in danger, was about to comply,
when the prefect, Cornelius Vigil, a Mexican, came in and forbid
it. The Indians immediately killed him and Lee, and released the
prisoners. They then proceeded towards the residence of Gov.
Bent ; but before their arrival he was informed of their approach.
He instAUy dressed himself, (for it was early,) and seized his pis
tols. JTwoman in the house advised him to fight, but he said it
would be useless with such a crowd of savages. His object was
to get into the streets to find assistance, or to escape. From one
of the rooms of his house there was a window opening into that
of another person, which was immediately on the street. Through
this he was passing when he received two arrows from the Indians,
who had covered the house-tops. He got to the door, and asked
assistance from persons present : their answer was that they could
do nothing that he must die. By this time, the Indians found
means to get into the house, when they shot him through the body
and killed him. Tomas, who was taken after the battle at Pueblo
de Taos, then took the governor's pistol, and shot him in the face.
PROGRESS OF THE INSURRECTION.
They then scalped him, stretched his body on a board with brass
nails, and paraded it through the streets with savage yells. The
fate of Mr. Leal, the district-attorney, was still more horrible, for
they murdered him with all the refinement of savage barbarity.
They shot arrows into his body for some time, not sufficiently deep
to destroy life, and, after that, they shot' them into his face and
eyes, and then scalped him alive. After torturing him thus for
a long time, they finally despatched him, and threw his body into
the street. They also murdered and scalped the son of Judge
Baubien, who had just returned from school in the United States,
and a friendly Mexican, named Harvimeah.
They then despatched messengers to inform the country people
below that a blow had been struck, and invited their aid to prose
cute the revolt. These messengers were arrested, and fell into the
hands of the Americans one by the alcalde of Moro, and the
other by a Frenchman of Canada. The latter, hearing that a man
had gone down, saddled his horse, and with his rifle, started in
pursuit. He headed off the messenger, and presenting his rifle,
demanded the letter, which was delivered to him. Being unable
to read, he carried it to the next alcalde, and again cocked his rifle,
and ordered him to read it. Thus possessed of the facts, he gal
loped to Santa Fe, and laid the whole before Col. Price, who
describes the subsequent events, in an official despatch :
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY IK NEW MEXICO,
Santa Fe, Feb. 15, 1847.
SIR : I have the honour to submit to you a short account of the
recent revolution in this Territory, and a detailed report of the
operations of the forces under my command, consequent upon the
About the 15th of December last I received information of an
attempt to excite the people of this territory against the American
government. This rebellion was headed by Thomas Ortiz and
Diego Archuleta. An officer, formerly in the Mexican service,
was seized, and on his person was found a list of all the dis
banded Mexican soldiers in the vicinity of Santa Fe. Many other
224 PROGRESS OF THE INSURRECTION.
persons, supposed to be implicated, were arrested, and a full
investigation proved that many of the most influential persons in
the northern part of this territory were engaged in the rebellion.
All attempts to arrest Ortiz and Archuleta proved unsuccessful,
and these rebels have, without doubt, escaped in the direction of
After the arrest above mentioned and the flight of Ortiz and
Archuleta, the rebellion appeared to be suppressed; but this
appearance was deceptive.
On the 14th of January, Gov. Bent left this city for Taos. On
the 19th of the same month, this valuable officer, together with
five other persons, were seized at Don Fernando de Taos by the
Pueblos and Mexicans, and murdered in the most inhuman
manner the savages could devise. On the same day, seven
Americans were murdered at the Arroya Honda, and two others
on the Rio Colorado. The names of the unfortunate persons thus
brutally butchered are as follows :
Jit Don Fernando de Taos. Charles Bent, governor ; Stephen
Lee, sheriff; James W. Leal, circuit attorney ; Cornelio Vigil, (a
Mexican,) prefect; Narcisus Baubien, (son of the circuit judge;)
Parbleau Harvimeah, (a Mexican.)
Jit the Arroya Honda. Simeon Turley, Albert Turbush, Wil
liam Hatfield, Louis Tolque, Peter Robert, Joseph Marshall,
At the, Rio Colorado. Mark Head, William Harwood.
It appeared to be the object of the insurrectionists to put to
death every American and every Mexican who had accepted
office under the American government.
News of these events reached me on the 20th of January ; and
letters from the rebels, calling upon the inhabitants of the Rio
Abajo for aid, were intercepted. It was now ascertained that the
enemy was approaching this city, and that their force was con
tinually being increased by the inhabitants of the towns along
their line of march.
In order to prevent the enemy from receiving any further rein
forcements in that manner, I determined to meet them as soon as
ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA. 225
possible. Supposing that the detachment of necessary troops
would weaken the garrison of Santa Fe too much, I immediately
ordered up from Albuquerque, Major Edmonson, Second Regiment
Missouri mounted Volunteers, and Capt. Burgwin, with their
respective commands, directing Capt. Burgwin to leave one com
pany of dragoons at this post, and to join nte with the other.
Major Edmonson was directed to remain in Santa Fe.
Capt. Giddings, company A, Second Regiment Missouri mounted
Volunteers, was also ordered to join me with his company, upon
the arrival of Capt. Burgwin.
Leaving Lieutenant-colonel Willock in command of this post,
on the 23d of January, I marched from this place at the head of
companies D, Capt. McMillin, K, Capt. Williams, L, Capt. Slack,
M, Capt. Halley, and N, Capt. Barber, of the Second Regiment
Missouri mounted Volunteers, Capt. Angney's battalion of infantry,
and a company of Santa Fe volunteers, commanded by Capt. St.
Vrain. I also took with me four mountain howitzers, which I
placed under the command of Lieut. A. B. Dyer, of the Ord
nance. My whole force composed 353 rank and file, and, with
the exception of Capt. St. Vrain's company, were all dismounted.
On the march, Capt. Williams was taken sick, and the command
of company K devolved upon Lieut. B. F. White. On the 24th
of January, at half-past one P. M., our advance, Capt. St. Vrain's
company, discovered the enemy in considerable force near the
town of Canada, their position, at that time, being in the valley
bordering the Rio del Norte. Preparations were immediately
made by me to attack them ; and it became necessary for the
troops to march more rapidly than the ammunition and provision
wagons could travel, in order to prevent the escape of the enemy,
or to frustrate them in any attempt they might make to occupy
commanding positions. As I entered the valley, I discovered them
beyond the creek on which the town is situated, and in full pos
session of the heights commanding the road to Canada, and of
three strong houses at the bases of the hills. My line of battle
was immediately formed the artillery, consisting of four twelve-
226 ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA.
pounder mountain howitzers, being, thrown forward on the Jeft
flank and beyond the creek, the dismounted men occupying a
position where they would be, in some degree, protected by the
high bluff bank of the stream, from the fire of the enemy, until
the wagon train could be brought up. The artillery opened on
the houses occupied by the enemy, and on the more distant height,
on which alone the guns could be brought to bear. The enemy
discovering the wagons to be more than a mile in the rear, sent a
large party to cut them off; and it became necessary to detach
Capt. St. Vrain's company for their protection. This service was
rendered in the most satisfactory manner. So soon as the wagon
train had been brought up, I ordered Capt. Angney to charge
with his battalion of infantry, and dislodge the -enemy from the
house opposite the right flank, and from which a warm fire was
being poured on us. This was done in the most gallant manner.
A charge was then ordered to be made upon all the points occu
pied by the enemy in any force. Capt. Angney, with his com
mand, supported by Lieut. White's company, charged up one hill,
while Capt. St. Vrain's company turned the same, in order to
cut off the enemy when in retreat. The artillery, supported by
Captains McMillen, Barber, and Slack, with their respective com
panies, at the same time took possession of some houses, (enclosed
by a strong corial densely wooded with fruit trees, from which a
brisk fire was kept up by the enemy,) and of the heights beyond
them. Capt. Halley's company was ordered to support Capt.
Angney. In a few minutes my troops had dislodged the enemy
at all points, and they were flying in every direction. The nature
of the ground rendered pursuit hopeless ; and it being near night,
I ordered the troops to take up quarters in the town. The number
of the enemy was about 1500. Lieut. Irvine was wounded. In
this charge, my loss was two killed and six wounded. Of the
killed, one was a teamster, who volunteered in Capt. Angney's
company. The loss of the enemy was thirty-six killed ; wounded
not ascertained. The next morning, the enemy showed them
selves in some force (I think not less than 400) on the distant
heights. Leaving a strong guard in the town, I marched in pur-
SKIRMISH AT EMBUDO. 227
suit of them ; but they were so shy, and retreated so rapidly, that,
finding it impossible to get near them, I returned to town.
While at Canada, a number of the horses belonging to Capt.
Slack's company were brought in by Lieut. Holcomb.
On the 27th, I advanced up the Rio del'Norte as far as Luceros,
where, early on the 28th, I was joined by Capt. Burgwin, com
manding company G, First Dragoons, and company A, Second
Regiment Missouri mounted Volunteers, commanded by Lieut.
Boone. Capt. Burgwin's command was dismounted, and great
credit is due to him and his officers and men for the rapidity with
which a march so long and arduous was performed. At the
same time Lieut. Wilson, First Dragoons, who had volunteered
his services, came up with a six-pounder, which had been sent
for from Canada.
My whole force now comprised 479 rank and file. On the 29th
I marched to La Joya, where I learned that a party of sixty or
eighty of the enemy had posted themselves on the steep slopes
of the mountains which rise on each side of the canon or gorge,
which leads to Embudo. Finding the road by Embudo imprac
ticable for artillery or wagons, I detached Capt. Burgwin, in that
direction, with his own company of dragoons and the companies
commanded by Capt. St. Vrain, and Lieut White. This detach
ment comprised 180 rank and file.
By my permission, Adjutant R. Walker, Second regiment Mis
souri mounted Volunteers, accompanied Capt. Burgwin. Lieut.
Wilson, First Dragoons, also volunteered his services as a private
in Capt. St. Vrain's company.
Capt. Burgwin, pushing forward, discovered the enemy, to the
number of between six and seven hundred, posted on the sides of
the mountains, just where the gorge becomes so contracted as
scarcely to admit of the passage of three men marching abreast.
The rapid slopes of the mountains rendered the enemy's posi
tion very strong, and its strength was increased by the dense masses
of cedar and large fragments of rock which everywhere offered
them shelter. The action was commenced by Capt. St. Vrain,
who, dismounting his men, ascended the mountain on the left,
SKIRMISH AT EMBUDO.
doing much execution. Flanking parties were thrown out on
either side, commanded respectively by Lieut. White, Second regi
ment Missouri mounted Volunteers, and by Lieut. Mcllvaine and
Taylor, First Dragoons. These parties ascended the hills rapidly,
and the enemy soon began to retire in the direction of Embudo,
bounding along the steep and rugged sides of the mountains with
a speed that defied pursuit. The firing at the pass of Embudo
had been heard at La Joya, and Capt. Slack, with twenty-five
mounted men, had been immediately despatched thither. He now
arrived and rendered excellent service by relieving Lieut. White,
whose men were much fatigued. Lieuts. Mcllvaine and Taylor
were also recalled ; and Lieut. In galls was directed to lead a flank
ing party on the right slope, while Capt. Slack performed the
same duty on the left. The enemy having by this time retreated
beyond our reach, Capt. Burgwin marched through the defile, and
debouching into the open valley in which Embudo is situated, re
called the flanking parties, and entered that town without opposi
tion, several persons meeting him with a white flag.
Our loss in this action was one man killed, and one severely
wounded, both belonging to Capt. St. V rain's company. The loss
of the enemy was about twenty killed, and sixty wounded.
Thus ended the battle of the pass of Embudo.
On the 30th, Capt. Burgwin marched to Trampas, where he
was directed to await the arrival of the main body, which, on ac
count of the artillery and wagons, was forced to pursue a more
southern route. On the 31st, I reached Trampas ; and being joined
by Capt. Burgwin, marched on to Chamisal with the whole com
mand. On the 1st of February, we reached the summit of the
Taos mountain, which was covered with snow to the depth of two
feet ; and on the 2d, quartered at a small village called RioChicito,
in the entrance of the valley of Taos. The marches of the 1st
and 2d were through deep snow. Many of the men were frost
bitten, and all were very much jaded with the exertions necessary
to travel over unbeaten roads, being marched in front of the artillery
and wagons, in order to break a road through the snow. The con
stancy and patience with which the troops bore these hardships,
BATTLE OF PUEBLO DE TAGS.
deserve all commendation, and cannot be excelled by the most
veteran soldiers. On the 3d, I marched through Don Fernando de
Taos, and finding that the enemy had fortified themselves in the
Pueblo de Taos, proceeded to that place. I found it a place of
great strength, being surrounded by adobe walls and strong pickets.
Within the enclosure and near the northern and southern walls,
arose two large buildings of irregular pyramidal form to the height
of seven or eight stories. Each of these buildings was capable
of sheltering five or six hundred men. Besides these, there were
many smaller buildings, and the large church of the town was
situated in the north-western angle, a small passage being left be
tween it and the outer wall. The exterior wall and all the en
closed buildings were pierced for rifles. The town was admirably
calculated for defence, every point of the exterior walls and pickets
being flanked by some projecting building, as will be seen from
the enclosed drawing.
After having reconnoitered the town, I selected the western
flank of the church as the point of attack ; and about 2 o'clock,
p. M., Lieut. Dyer was ordered to open his battery at the distance
of about 250 yards. A fire was kept up by the six-pounder and
the howitzers, for about two hours and a half, when, as the am
munition wagon had not yet come up, and the troops were suffer
ing from cold and fatigue, I returned to Don Fernando. Early on
the morning of the 4th, I again advanced upon Pueblo. Posting
the dragoons under Capt. Burgwin, about 260 yards from the
western flank of the church, I ordered the mounted men under
Capts. St. Vrain and Slack, to a position on the opposite side of
the town, whence they could discover and intercept any fugitives
who might attempt to escape towards the mountains, or in the
direction of Don Fernando. The residue of the troops took ground
about 300 yards from the northern wall. Here, too, Lieut. Dyer
established himself with the six-pounder and two howitzers, while
Lieut. Hassendeubel, of Major Clark's battalion light artillery,
remained with Capt. Burgwin, in command of two howitzers. By
this arrangement a cross-fire was obtained, sweeping the front and
eastern flank of the church.
230 BATTLE OF PUEBLO DE TAOS.
All these arrangements having been made, the batteries opened
upon the town at 9 o'clock, A. M. At 11 o'clock, finding it im
possible to breach the walls of the church with the six-pounder
and howitzers, I determined to storm that building. At a signal,
Capt. Burgwin, (First regiment United States Dragoons,) at the
head of his own company, and that of Capt. McMillin, (of the
volunteers,) charged the western flank of the church, while Capt.
Angney, Infantry battalion, and Capt. Barber, and Lieut. Boon,
Second regiment Missouri mounted Volunteers, charged the north
ern wall. As soon as the troops above mentioned had established
themselves under the western wall of the church, axes were used
in the attempt to breach it ; and, a temporary ladder having been
made, the roof was fired. About this time, Capt. Burgwin, at the
head of a small party, left the cover afforded by the flank of the
church, and penetrating into the corral in front of that building,
endeavoured to force the door. In this exposed situation, Capt.
Burgwin received a severe wound which deprived me of his
valuable services, and of which he died on the 7th instant. Lieuts.
Mcllvaine, First United States Dragoons, and Royall and Lack
land, Second regiment mounted Volunteers, accompanied Capt.
Burgwin into the corral ; but the attempt on the church door
proved fruitless, and they were compelled to retire behind the
wall. In the mean time, small holes had been cut into the western
wall, and shells were thrown in by hand, doing good execution.
The six-pounder was now brought around by Lieut. Wilson, who
at the distance of two hundred yards, poured a heavy fire of grape
into the town. The enemy during all this time kept up a destruc
tive fire upon our troops. About half-past 3 o'clock, the six-
pounder was run up within sixty yards of the church, and after
ten rounds, one of the holes which had been cut with the axes
was widened into a practicable breach. The gun was now run
up within ten yards of the wall a shell was thrown in three
rounds of grape were poured into the breach. The storming party
among whom were Lieut. Dyer, of the ordnance, and Lieuts.
Wilson and Taylor, First Dragoons, entered and took possession
of the church without opposition. The interior was filled with
BATTLE OF PUEBLO DE TAOS. 231
dense smoke, but for which circumstance our storming party would
have suffered great loss. A few of the enemy were seen in the
gallery, where an open door admitted the air, but they retired
without firing a gun. The troops left to support the battery on
the north, were now ordered to charge on that side. The enemy
abandoned the western part of the town. Many took refuge in
the large houses on the east, while others endeavoured to escape
toward the mountains. These latter were pursued by the mounted
men under Capts. Slack and St. Vrain, who killed fifty-one of
them, only two or three men escaping. It was now night, and our
troops were quietly quartered in the houses which the enemy had
abandoned. On the next morning, the enemy sued for peace, and
thinking the severe loss they had sustained would prove a salutary
lesson, I granted their supplication, on the condition that they should
deliver up to me Tomas one of their principal men, who had insti
gated and been actively engaged in the murder of Gov. Bent and
others. The number of the enemy at the battle of Pueblo de Taos was
between six and seven hundred. Of these, about one hundred and
fifty were killed wounded not known. Our own loss was seven kill
ed, and forty-five wounded. Many of the wounded have since died.
The principal leaders in this insurrection were Tafoya, Pablo
Chavis, Pablo Montoya, Cortez, and Tomas, a Pueblo Indian. Of
these, Tafoya was killed at Canada; Chavis was killed at Pueblo;
Montoya was hanged at Don Fernando on the 7th instant, and
Tomas was shot by a private while in the guard room at the latter
town. Cortez is still at large. This person was at the head of
the rebels in the valley of the Mora.
In the battles of Canada, Embudo, and Pueblo de Taos, the
officers and men behaved admirably. Where all conducted them
selves gallantly, I consider it improper to distinguish individuals,
as such discrimination might operate prejudicially against the just
claims of others.
I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. commanding the army in New Mexico.
The, ADJUTANT-GENERAL of the Army, Washington, D. C.
233 FUNERALS OF BENT AND BURGWIN.
Early in the morning of the 5th, the women had come in
crowds to the victors, on their knees, with white flags, crosses,
images, &c., begging for mercy ; and very soon the men followed
them. Col. Price listened to their supplications. They brought
forward much of the property that had been taken from the
American citizens whom they had murdered. This was restored
to their relatives.
This campaign of nineteen days was made without tents, and
with marches through, and nights spent in snow from two to three
feet deep, and here it may be mentioned that this winter was
deemed the most severe that had occurred in New Mexico for
Missouri had abundant cause of gratulation in the gallantry of
her citizen soldiery, for this was a contest not alone against Mexi
cans, but against the most warlike tribe of Indians, and a fastness
the strongest in New Mexico, and by them regarded as impreg
nable. The chivalry and daring of the attack and capture of the
church at Pueblo could scarce atone in its confessedly glorious
results for the loss of the gallant Burgwin and his comrades.
The heroic conduct of the United States Dragoons was well
attested by their loss in killed and wounded, as it was by their
At Santa Fe, the 13th was a day of mourning. In the morning,
the funeral of Burgwin, than whom the army did not furnish a
better specimen of the combination of the gentleman with the
officer, took place with all the honours due to his rank, and more
to his merits. In the afternoon, the mangled remains of the
lamented Governor Bent were buried by the Masonic fraternity,
assisted by all the military of the place. At least 1300 Americans
were present, and a vast concourse of Mexicans, at a funeral
pageant such as was never witnessed before in that country.
Their graves are on a little knoll, just under the western angle
of Fort Marcy.
As soon as Col. Price received the first intimation of the murder
at Taos of Gov. Bent and others, and of insurrectionary move
ments at St. Miguel, he sent an order to Capt. Henley, who had
BURNING OF MORO. 233
been stationed in that neighbourhood, as well to take charge of the
grazing parties as to protect Capt. Murphy, who had been sent to
St. Louis and was daily expected back with United States funds
for the troops, to collect all his forces, and to put down any attempt
at a revolution, and to give convoy to Capt. Murphy's small train.
Anonymous letters had, immediately on the outbreak at Taos,
been sent to all the surrounding settlements, urging the people to
rise and massacre the Americans. One of these was received at
Moro, a town on the east side of the mountains. On the 19th,
eight Americans were at that place, and they were immediately
killed. Among them were L. L. Waldo, and Benjamin Prewitt,
both old traders. At the date of these massacres, Capt. Henley,
with his grazing party of 90 men, was near Moro. The insurgents
soon became formidable and fortified the town. Capt. Henley
determined to attack in this position, and fought them for several
hours, killing fifteen and wounding many, with eighteen prisoners,
who were subsequently sent to Santa Fe. In the engagement,
Henley was killed, when, finding that the insurgents could not be
driven from their position, the first lieutenant withdrew for rein
forcements, which arrived at Vegas about the 28th of January,
under Capt. Morin. The party then proceeded to Moro, but on
its approach the inhabitants of the place fled. Moro had a popu
lation of about 2000, nearly all of whom took to the mountains.
Capt. Morin then destroyed the place, with the exception of three
houses, occupied by invalids, as also a large quantity of grain, then
much wanted by the army in New Mexico, thus, unfortunately
causing some of the horrors of war to be felt as well by the victors
as by the enemy.
Besides the prisoners sent to Santa Fe from Moro town, Col.
Price brought with him the father-in-law of Archuleta, who fought
him at Canada. He took both these persons on his way to Taos,
carried them to that place, and finally turned them over to the
civil authority of Santa Fe. The father-in-law was a venerable
looking old man of about sixty-five, and suffered much while
crossing the high mountains through deep snow, in mid-winter.
There was no doubt of his having participated largely in the
234 REBELS EXECUTED.
revolutiorf. He was wealthy, and lived in good style. An
interesting interview took place on the return, between Col. Price
and the mother of Archuleta. She called on him and begged her
son's release, and, with streaming eyes, told him he was her only
comfort that her other son had fled, and that she was alone in
the world. Col. Price told her it was painful to him to be the
cause of any sorrow to her, but that his duty to his country would
not allow him to liberate her son. She replied that she would
pledge all she was worth, if he would release him, that he would
never engage in another revolution. Col. Price could not listen
to her proposal. She then offered to bail him in any amount, to
which it was replied that the civil authority alone could decide on
that matter. Subsequently tried and condemned, they were
humanely ordered to be pardoned by the President" of the United
States as soon as he came to a knowledge of the case.
After the fight at Taos, the Pueblo Indians, the late allies of the
Mexicans, delivered up to Col. Price the ringleaders in the assas
sination and rebellion, and professed a wish to be friendly with the
Americans, declaring they had been deceived by false representa
tions of the Mexicans, and of plunder largely held out to them.
After these events, the Mexicans were, as far as possible, dis
armed and deprived of their ammunition. The civil government
resumed its functions under the secretary of state, acting as gover
nor, and the trials of the rebels took place, and resulted in the
condemnation of many who were engaged in the revolt. Their
execution then took place. Early in April, Col. Price occupied
Santa Fe, with about 450 troops. The remainder of his forces
were stationed through the country, some guarding the horses and
stock, and others garrisoning posts, as was the position of affairs
previous to the insurrection.
The execution of the sentences of the courts on the criminals
much excited the Mexicans, still at this time all was quiet, but it
was believed to be that stubborn and sullen quiet which superior
force alone compels.
In this state of affairs in a country greatly exhausted of its
resources and, at any time, deficient in means to sustain a large
ROUTE TO SANTA FE. 235
mounted force, especially around Santa Fe, with reinforcements to
be brought above one thousand miles, over the trackless and desert
plains of the far west, and through hostile or thieving Indians, it
was apparent that the troops at Santa Fe, and in New Mexico,
would be required to exercise the greatest vigilance, in order to
retain the conquered territory.
Nor was it long before the inimical spirit of the population gave
occasion for activity, though not in any attempt at wide-spread in
surrection, but in such isolated acts of hostility as, if successful to
any extent, might have lead to a general revolt.
Reports came of parties of Mexicans having gone from the fron
tiers to rob on the plains, and of their allying themselves with the
Chasjeune Indians, and some other savage tribes ; that Cortes, a
Mexican outlaw, had enlisted the Cumanches, and threatened the
eastern frontier, as well as ail Americans on the Santa Fe trail to
the United States, &c. Over this trail, it had for some time be
fore required an efficient party to check the attacks or depreda
tions of the savages who infested it, lured thither by the hope of
plunder. With these Indians, Mexicans were found united. The
Arrapohoes and Pawnees also, infested the route, so that a small
government train with stores for the use of the troops at Santa Fe,
had been cut off and the teamsters murdered, and that several
other lives and much property had been lost.
At this time, whatever small party ventured to traverse the long
and difficult route to or .from Santa Fe and Fort Leaven worth, en
countered with great certainty many adventures, as well as immi
nent risks of their lives. Lieuts. Abert and Peck, of the Topo
graphical Engineers, had gone out with Gen. Kearny. They had
remained at Santa Fe, when Gen. Kearny departed for California,
and, subsequently, made under orders left for them,* an examina
tion and survey of New Mexico, which, when published, must be
* Lieut. Emory, chief of the Engineer staff of Gen. Kearny, left these orders,
and accompanied the general to California. No opportunity was neglected by
this officer to take astronomical observations, as well as to make topographical
reconnoissances. In these he was most ably seconded by Lieut. William H.
Warner, both of the Topographical Engineer corps.
236 INCIDENTS OF THE DESERT.
of exceeding interest, from their known ability. Lieut. Abert re
turned from New Mexico, in December, and January, 1847, over
the plains. His journal of this trip has been published, and
vividly details the hardships and dangers of the enterprise. Lieut.
Peck, with Messrs. Woods and Sanford, left Santa Fe soon after
theTaos insurrection, and when the insurgents were being brought
to punishment. His party was small, and, after they had been
out a few days, they were attacked by greatly superior numbers
of Cumanches, who, though driven off for the time, succeeded in
stealing ten of their mules and horses. This they effected by en
gaging and drawing off the men from their pack animals, or in a
variety of ways common to Indian strategy in fact, both as war
riors and strategists, the Cumanches were generally found to be
more warlike and skilful than the Mexicans. On the second day,
the Indians in greater numbers renewed the fight, and succeeded
in running off thirty-five of the horses and mules, but not without
heavy loss to themselves. All of the small party displayed the
utmost intrepidity in facing the enemy. A musket-ball struck the
pistol of Lieut. Peck, and took the impression of the manufac
turer's name, plain as if purposely made upon it, while his clothes
were lanced through, and a man wounded by his side. Others
were equally warmly engaged, and had a long and protracted
struggle before they were able to drive the "Arabs of the Desert"
(as they have been appropriately called) off from their prey.
That night they were joined by Mr. McKnight, from Chihuahua,
passed Midshipman E. Beale, of the United States navy, C. Toplin,
Christopher Carson, Theodore Talbot, of the army, Robert E.
Russell, and others from the Pacific coast. The names given are
connected with principal events sketched in this work ; and it was
a singular incident that the far distant and widely separated
branches of the "Army of the West" Chihuahua Santa Fe
and California as well as the naval co-operation, should here be
represented, and have to tell their adventures at a camp in the
desert, and while yet in danger from the Cumanches, out of a
contest with whom they had just emerged, and knew not at what
moment they might have to renew, and here to listen to news of
SKIRMISHES WITH THE INDIANS. 237
their companions in arms, and of distant achievements before un
known to each other.
At the bend of the Arkansas, the party thus reinforced had
their camp attacked by another trfbe of Indians, Pawnees, who
fired many arrows into it, and attempted to excite a stampede
among the horses, but as the Indians appeared with but one gun,
they were more easily driven off. These gentlemen arrived,
finally, at the settlements without further loss. They reported
the Indians as very hostile, and as intending to attack every party
which they might think themselves strong enough to contend with.
In fact, these dangers and difficulties were encountered by all
small parties who attempted the route between Santa Fe and the
American settlements ; some of them in a more eminent degree.
It is now known that a force has been sent out,. under Col. Gilpin,
to punish the Indians, and protect the route.
In New Mexico, the Apache Indians had now become trouble
some. Despite their treaty with Col. Doniphan, they had suffered
themselves to be excited to hostilities against the Americans by
some of the leading insurrectionists who had escaped, and pene
trated their country.
Forces were detached againsf them. On the 29th of May,
1847, an engagement took place at the Red River canon, about
one hundred and fifty miles south-east of Santa Fe, between a
detachment of about 175 men under Major Edmonson, and a
band of Mexicans and Apaches numbering four hundred. These
had combined to commit depredations on American property, and
a few days previous succeeded in stealing 150 horses from traders
and others. Major Edmonson was crossing a slough at the mouth
of the cafion, which was very miry, and many of his horses being
in weak condition, were unable to get through the morass. Here
he suddenly came upon the enemy, and engaged the Mexicans
and Indians for about two hours on foot, when he was compelled
to retreat. Lieut. Elliott, in command of 27 men, principally
Laclede Rangers, gallantly posted his men on a point of rocks and
kept the enemy from advancing upon the retiring forces until they
238 SERVICES OF MAJOR EDMONSON.
got out of their difficult position. All the horses were either shot
down or captured.
Lieutenant-colonel Willock was ordered, early in June, from Taos
to Santa Fe, the terms of service of most of his men being at this
time about to expire. In fact, the terms of the whole volunteer
force then in New Mexico were near expiration.
A small detached party under Lieut. Brown were surprised,
and all killed by the Mexicans about this time.
Major Edmonson had again encountered the enemy with artillery,
and had captured, with considerable loss on the part of the Mexi
cans, the town of Los Pias, and was in July following up his suc
cesses here the narrative of one of his officers must serve for our
The insurrectionists under their leaders. Gen. Gonsales and the
outlaw Cortes, surprised and dispersed, and the recapture of a
great number of American horses by our troops.
SAXTA FE, August 4, 1847.
MESSRS. EDITORS : At the destruction of the town of Los Pias,
on the 6th of July last, by the troops under the command of Major
Edmonson, we found upon the prisoners then taken, letters written
by one Gonsales and others, leaders of the late projected insurrec
tion, giving a plan of their intended operations, and asking the
citizens to be in readiness for action at a moment's warning ;
stating, also, that the Americans were already weakened by the
departure to the States of a number of troops : that others were to
start in a few days, and amongst them the company of artillerists,
Capt. Fischer's ; and that spies would be kept constantly on the
road to give information of their (the artillerists') departure, at
which time they entertained no doubt of being able to strike a
final and decisive blow. The prisoners also stated that many of
their men, with their arms, had gone to the town of Loquesta, to
join their leader, Gen. Gonsales.
Loquesta is a town of considerable size, and admirably located
for defence, being situated on the San Miguel river, surrounded
by mountains of an almost inaccessible character. The prisoners
CAPTURE AT LOQUESTA.
stated that Cortes and his party were at or near Anton Chico, a
frontier town situate on the San Miguel river, some fifteen or
twenty miles below Loquesta. Having disposed of the prisoners
taken at the storming of Los Pias, by sending them to Santa Fe
for trial, Major Edmonson, with the companies of Capts. Horine
and Hollo way, and two pieces of artillery, started on the 15th of
July to the town of Anton Chico, a distance of about forty-five
Upon our arrival at the latter place, at daylight the following
morning, we found the town deserted, except by a few old men,
women, and children, from whom we extracted the information
that their men, with their arms, had likewise gone to the town of
Loquesta. Pursuing our march, and when within about five miles
of the latter town, a Mexican supposed to be a spy was cap
tured by our scouting party, who informed us that from four to six
hundred armed Mexicans, under their leaders Gonsales and Cortes,
were then in the town of Loquesta. Upon our arrival on the
heights commanding a view of^the town, we discovered the enemy
dispersing in every direction to the mountains. We, however,
succeeded in capturing about fifty prisoners ; the mule, saddle,
bridle and sabre of Gen. Cortes ; and a great number of American
horses and Cumanche and Apache Indian horses, obtained from
those Indians in exchange for horses stolen by the Mexicans from
the American troops.
The enemy had evidently made great preparation for defence,
as their houses were generally barricaded and fortified, and their
goods and valuables either hid in the mountains or buried. Our
prisoners informed us that the great panic amongst the Mexican
troops was produced by our sudden and unexpected approach,
together with the fact that we had with us artillery, which I think
they never intend to face again if they can avoid it.
It is but justice to the troops being part infantry, and having
with them artillery drawn by oxen to state that the march from
Los Vegos, by Anton Chico, to Loquesta, a distance of between
fifty-five and sixty miles, was performed in less than twenty-four
hours, over a rough and mountainous country, and a great portion
240 LIEUT. LOVE ATTACKED BY INDIANS.
of the distance without even a road to guide them ; to which ex
traordinary march may be attributed their success on the occasion.
We are endeavouring, here in Santa Fe, to raise a new regi
ment. Three companies have already been mustered in, and two
others reported ready for being mustered. They are composed
principally of discharged volunteers and wagoners.
Six of the prisoners charged with the murder of Lieut. Brown
and his party were executed on the 3d inst., in Santa Fe, by sen
tence of a drum-head court-martial. The balance, it is supposed,
will be released for want of sufficient testimony.
Yours, respectfully, J. H. BOURMAM,
Second Lieut. Co. F, Second Reg. Mo. Mounted Vol.
The troops alluded to as departed and departing, were the com
panies of Capts. Fischer and Dent, and portions of the original
commands of Capts. Weightman and Hudson, which left Fort <
Leaven worth with Gen. Kearny, were left at Santa Fe by Col. \
Doniphan after Gen. Kearny's departure for California, and had
been mustered into service on the 6th of June, 146 ; consequently
their term of service, for one year, had expired, and they were
sent home, and arrived in good season, at St. Louis, in the latter
part of August, 1847, where they were greeted with every distinc
tion by their fellow-citizens.
Lieut. Love, of the First Dragoons, arrived with a train of
wagons, and specie for the troops. The difficulties that beset his
march are best described by an officer of his command of eighty
United States Dragoons :
CAMP ON BATTIK-GROTJSTD,
Jlrkansa* River, 1st July, 1847.
DEAR SIR : Previous to your receiving this, you will no doubt
have heard of our engagement with the Indians on the 26th ult.,
and of my being engaged on that occasion ; and from the very
severe wound I received from a ball in the side, which is lodged
backwards and cannot be extracted, left me in a very weak and
uncertain state ; however, I feel now much easier, and being
anxious that you should have in part at least the particulars, I avail
PERILOUS POSITION. 241
myself of an opportunity of writing by traders who are going to
the States. On the 23d, we arrived at the Pawnee Fork, and there
met two government trains of provision wagons destined for Santa
Fe, and learned from them that the day previous the Indians
charged on them as their cattle were grazing, wounding three men
one severely and driving off from traders and a return train of
government wagons under Mr. Bell, some seventy yoke of oxen,
leaving twenty wagons and a considerable quantity of provisions
and other property without the means of transportation. The
wagons and property were burned to prevent their falling into the
hands of the Indians. Next day, (the 24th,) we travelled up to
the Fork and encamped, and on the 25th to this place, on which
day I was in charge of the guard, and the night passed over with
out any alarm, although every vigilance and precaution was used.
Next morning, the 26th, immediately after reveille, Hayden's train,
which was encamped about five hundred yards due west from the
guard-tent, drove their oxen from the corell to graze. All were
scarcely out, when a large band of Cumanches and Mexicans
emerged from a ravine called Coon creek, about two hundred yards
west, and charged furiously on the teamsters and herdsmen, wound
ing three and driving off one hundred and thirty yoke of govern
ment oxen and thirty yoke belonging to a trader who was accom
panying them. One conspicuous Indian rode within carbine
range I fired and killed the horse from under him, and, as far as
could be ascertained, wounded himself; however, he was soon be
hind another Indian. In the mean time the camp was armed, and
some eighteen or nineteen mounted dragoons were ordered out
under my command, for the purpose of retaking the cattle. When
my command reached within one hundred and fifty yards of the
enemy, I halted, and formed in extended line, expecting to rally on
a body of teamsters who were out as footmen ; then charged on
tfie Indians, and forced them to retreat. As they were just retreat
ing, a large body of well-mounted Indians crossed the river be
tween me and the camp on my left, and charged us in the rear
with great fury, and preventing us from rallying, but to cut our
way through them. About this time I was shot, and charged on
242 TRAIN PLUNDERED BY THE INDIANS.
by several Indians. I made my sabre, however, drink blood, having
killed one and wounded another. Every man in my little com
mand fought bravely and manfully, and five of my poor fellows
were killed defending themselves to the last, and selling their lives
at a dear rate, and six wounded three more besides myself
severely wounded. The killed were Arlidge, Deckhart, Short,
Gaskill, and Blake. The wounded, myself, Vancaster, Lovelace,
and Ward, severely and Burk and Wilson slightly. The severe
loss we met with I attribute to the almost unmanageable state of
the horses, all being new in the service, and to the Indians being
permitted to charge on us from behind. The enemy took off the
cattle, scalped three men, and took off the horses, equipments, arms
and ammunition, and the clothes of the dead. The Indians, when
in a V^dy, numbered about 500. I make no comments, I merely
give you the facts as they occurred before me. The Indians were
all armed with lances measuring from twelve to fifteen feet in
length, bows and arrows, and a great many with rifles and mus
kets. There were some white men among them. Several of our
men saw them as well as myself. The air was actually as dark
as if a flight of birds were hovering over us, from the balls, lances,
and arrows that were flying through the air. Twelve or fifteen of
the enemy are known to have fallen perhaps more but were
immediately carried off. Four of their horses were left dead on
the ground. Since then, we remain here, merely changing posi
tions, for the purpose of pastime. To-morrow, I understand, we
will proceed again on our route, arrangements being made to take
all the trains along, with somewhat less team, however. The In
dians have attacked every train that has gone out or come in this
year, and are bound to attack every train that will follow. These
infernal Cumanches, Pawnees, and Arrapahoes deserve a castiga-
tion that would ever after keep them quiet, and which they are
sure some day to receive.
Lieut. Love was in a most distressing situation. Never has man
suffered, I believe, more in one day than he suffered. Here were
twelve wagons, with six mules to each provisions, and all the
specie, that he could not by any possible means abandon, as another
COL. GILPIN'S COMMAND. 243
large force were ready to attack the camp if he were to go out with
a large force ; and yet he saw the awful situation in which we were
placed, and could not give us the slightest aid or assistance. lam
convinced that he acted prudently and wisely ; for it has been his
special care to take all the precautions that an experienced officer
could take to save his men and animals ever since he commenced
Such was the character of the Indian aggression on the route to
New Mexico. The violence was, however, confined to the Cu-
manches, and to a small portion of the Arrapahoes, and the band
of Pawnees south of the Platte. This violence the United States
government took effectual measures to quell, by placing a compe
tent force under the command of Col. Gilpin, who had signally
distinguished himself with Doniphan in Chihuahua.
In August, all organized resistance to the troops had ceased in
New Mexico, the elections were held, and the persons principally
concerned in the late insurrectionary struggles had been tried, and
those convicted had been executed. Six of the murderers of
Lieut. Brown were of this number.
New levies had arrived and were arriving to replace the volun
teers whose constant and arduous services entitled them to their
discharge as soon as their enlistments expired.
Col. Price, on the 20th of July, 1847, was made a brigadier-
general, and commands at Santa Fe, whence he lately returned for
a short visit to Missouri.
Letter of the Secretary of War to Gen. Kearny.
[CONFIDENTIAL.] WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, June 3d, 1846.
Sin : I herewith send you a copy of my letter to the governor of Missouri for
an additional force of 1000 mounted men.
The object of thus adding to the force under your command is not, as you will
perceive, fully set forth in that letter, for the reason that it is deemed prudent
that it should not, at this time, become a matter of public notoriety ; but to you
it is proper and necessary that it should be stated.
It has been decided by the President to be of the greatest importance in the
pending war with Mexico to take the earliest possession of Upper California.
An expedition with that view is hereby ordered, and you are designated to com
mand it. To enable you to be in sufficient force to conduct it successfully, this
additional force of 1000 mounted men has been provided, to follow you in the
direction of Santa F6 , to be under your orders, or the officer you may leave in
command at Santa F&.
It cannot be determined how far this additional force will be behind that de
signed for the Santa Fe expedition, but it will not probably be more than a few
weeks. When you arrive at Santa Fe with the force already called, and shall
have taken possession of it, you may find yourself in a condition to garrison
it with a small part of your command, (as the additional force will soon be at
that place,) and with the remainder press forward to California. In that
case you will make such arrangements, as to being followed by the reinforce
ments before mentioned, as in your judgment may be deemed safe and prudent.
I need not say to you that, in case you conquer Santa Fe, (and with it will be
included the department or state of New Mexico,) it will be important to pro
vide for retaining safe possession of it. Should you deem it prudent to have still
more troops for the accomplishment of the objects therein designated, you will
lose no time in communicating your opinion on that point, and all others con
nected with the enterprise, to this department. Indeed, you are hereby autho
rized to make a direct requisition for it upon the governor of Missouri.
It is known that a large body of Mormon emigrants are en route to California,
for the purpose of settling in that country. You are desired to use all proper
means to have a good understanding with them, to the end that the United
States may have their co-operation in taking possession of, and holding, that
country. It has been suggested here that many of these Mormons would will-
ingly enter into the service of the United States, and aid us in our expedition
against California. You are hereby authorized to muster into service such as can
be induced to volunteer; not, however, to a number exceeding one-third of your
entire force. Should they enter the service they will be paid as other volunteers,
and you can allow them to designate, so far as it can be properly done, the per
sons to act as officers thereof. It is understood that a considerable number of
American citizens are now settled on the Sacramento river, near Suter's esta
blishment, called " Nueva Helvetia," who are well-disposed towards the United
States. Should you, on your arrival in the country, find this to be the true state
of things there, you are authorized to organize and receive into the service of the
United States such portion of these citizens as you may think useful to aid you
to hold the possession of the country. You will, in that case, allow them, so far
as you shall judge proper, to select their own officers. A large discretionary
power is invested in you in regard to these matters, as well as to all others in rela
tion to the expeditions confided to your command.
The choice of routes by which you will enter California, will be left to yonr
better knowledge and ampler means of getting accurate information. We are
assured that a southern route (called the Caravan route, by which the wild
horses are brought from that country into New Mexico) is practicable ; and it
is suggested as not improbable that it can be passed over in the winter months,
or, at least, late in autumn. It is hoped that this information may prove to be
In regard to the routes, the practicability of procuring needful supplies for
men and animals, and transporting baggage, is a point to be well considered.
Should the President be disappointed in his cherished hope that you will be able
to reach the interior of Upper California before winter, you are then desired to
make the best arrangement you can for sustaining your forces during the winter,
and for an early movement in the spring. Though it is very desirable that the
expedition should reach California this season, (and the President does not doubt
you will make every possible effort to accomplish this object,) yet, if in your
judgment, it cannot be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of success, you
will defer it, as above suggested, until spring. You are left unembarrassed by
any specific directions in this matter.
It is expected that the naval forces of the United States, which are now, or
will soon be, in the Pacific, will be in possession of all the towns on the sea-
coast, and will co-operate with you in the conquest of California. Arms, ord
nance, munitions of war, and provisions, to be used in that country, will be sent
by sea to our squadron in the Pacific, for the use of the land forces.
Should you conquer and take possession of New Mexico and Upper California,
or considerable places in either, you will establish temporary civil governments
therein abolishing all arbitrary restrictions that may exist, so far as it may be
done with safety. In performing this duty, it would be wise and prudent to
continue in their employment all such of the existing officers as are known to be
friendly to the United States, and will take the oath of allegiance to them. The
duties at the custom-houses ought, at once, to be reduced to such a rate as may
be barely sufficient to maintain the necessary officers without yielding any reve
nue to the government. You may assure the people of those provinces that
it is the wish and design of the United States to provide for them a free govern
ment with the least possible delay, similar to that which exists in our territories.
They will then be called on to exercise the rights of freemen in electing their
own representatives to the territorial legislature. It is foreseen, that what relates
-~ -~ -'~~~'^~-~~^~'>~N~^^^^^ / s/V>/'S~VV.N/V^N^>/-
to the civil government will be a difficult and unpleasant part of your duty, and
much must necessarily be left to your own discretion.
In your whole conduct you will act in such a manner as best to conciliate the
inhabitants, and render them friendly to the United States.
It is desirable that the usual trade between the citizens of the United States
and the Mexican provinces should be continued as far as practicable, under the
changed condition of things between the two countries. In consequence of ex
tending your expedition into California, it may be proper that you should in
crease your supply for goods to be distributed as presents to the Indians. The
United States superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis will aid you in pro
curing these goods. You will be furnished with a proclamation* in the Spanish
language, to be issued by you, and circulated among the Mexican people, on
your entering into or approaching their country. You will use your utmost
endeavours to have the pledges and promises therein contained carried out to the
I am directed by the President to say that the rank of brevet brigadier-general
will be conferred on you as soon as you commence your movement towards
California, and sent round to you by sea, or over the country, or to the care of
the commandant of our squadron in the Pacific. In that way, cannon, arms,
ammunition, and supplies for the land forces, will be sent to you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Col. STEPHEN W. KEARJIY, Secretary of War.
Fort Leavenu-orth, Missouri.
Letter of the Secretary of War to Gen. Kearny.
Washington, June 5, 1846.
SIR : I enclosed to you a few copies of a proclamation prepared for Gen.
Taylor, to issue to the Mexicans. 1 discover that there are parts of it that will
not answer our purpose for Santa Fe or Upper California. You will not, there
fore, use these copies. It is intended to make the needful alterations in it, and
thus altered, send on copies-j- to you before you will have occasion to distribute
them. I must, however, urge you not to use those which have been forwarded.
Col. S. W. KEARNY. W. L. MARCY.
* No proclamation for circulation was ever furnished to Gen. Kearny. A few
copies of that prepared for and sent to Gen. Taylor were forwarded to Gen.
Kearny, but he was requested not to use them. These copies were the only
proclamations sent by the War Department to him, and I am not aware that
he ever used any of them. See letter of the Secretary of War to Gen. Kearny,
of the 6th of June, 1846, a copy of which is, with the papers, sent to the Pre
sident, in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 15th
of December, 1816. W. L. MARCY.
j- No proclamation, modified as proposed, was sent. W. L. MARCY.
Letter of the Secretary of PFar to General Kearny.
Washington, September 12, 1846.
SIR : A volunteer regiment raised in the State of New York, engaged to
serve during the war with Mexico, and to be discharged wherever they may be
at its termination, if in a territory of the United States, has been mustered into
service, and is about to embark at the port of New York for California. This
force is to be a part of your command ; but, as it may reach the place of its des
tination before you are in a condition to subject it to your orders, the colonel of
the regiment, J. D. Stevenson, has been furnished with instructions for his con
duct in the mean time. I herewith send you a copy thereof, as well as a copy
of the instructions of the Navy Department to the commander of the naval
squadron in the Pacific; a copy of a letter to General Taylor, with a circular
from the Treasury Department ; a copy of a letter from General Scott to Captaiji
Tompkins ; and a copy of general regulations relative to the respective rank of
naval and army officers. These, so far as applicable, will be looked upon in the
light of instructions to yourself. The department is exceedingly desirous to be
furnished by you with full information of your progress and proceedings, to
gether with your opinion and views as to your movements into California, hav
ing reference as to time, route, &c. Beyond the regiment under the command
of Colonel S. Price, and the separate battalion called for at the same time by the
President from the governor of Missouri, a requisition for one regiment of in
fantry was issued on the 18th of July last; but the information subsequently
received here induced the belief that it would not be needed ; and the difficulty
of passing it over the route at so late a period in the season, with the requisite
quantity of supplies, &c., was deemed so great, that the orders to muster it into
service have been countermanded. It will not be sent. Your views as to the
sufficiency of your force, and the practicability of sustaining a larger one, &c.,
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War.
Gen. S. W. KEARJIT, Fort Leavenworth, Missouri.
Letter of the Secretary of War to Colonel Stevenson.
September 11, 1846.
SIR : The transports having on board the regiment under your command are
destined to the Pacific, and will repair to our naval squadron now on the coast
of California. Instructions, with a copy of which you are herewith furnished,
have been given to the naval commander on the station in regard to his opera-
tions, and you are directed to co-operate with him in carrying out his plans, so
far as the land forces may be needed for that purpose. Without undertaking to
give specific instructions as to the movements of our forces in that quarter for
much must be left to the judgment of the commanding officers it is proper to
state that the military occupation of California is the main object in view. There
are three points deemed to be worthy of particular attention. These are San
Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego. It is important to have possession of the
bay of San Francisco and the country in that vicinity. The necessity of having
something like a permanent and secure position on the coast of California, and
probably at this place, will not be overlooked. Assuming that such a position
will be found and selected in the bay of San Francisco, it is expected that a
fortification, such as the means at your command may enable you to construct,
will be erected, and that the heavy guns heretofore sent out, and those taken by
the transports, to the extent needed, will be used for its armament. This work
should be designed for a two-fold object the protection of the vessels in the bay,
and the security of the land forces. The selection of the site will be an import
ant matter. It should be preceded by a careful examination of the place with
reference to both objects, and the location made under the advice and direction
of the commanding naval officer. It may, however, be that your first debarkation
will not be at this point. The circumstances which may be found to exist on
your arrival in that region must control in this matter.
It is probable that Monterey will have been taken by our naval force before
the land troops reach that coast, and they may be needed to hold possession of
it. This place is also to be secured by fortifications or temporary works from an
attack either by sea or land. Judging from the information we have here of
what will be the state of things on your arrival on the coast of California, it is
concluded that these will be found to be the important points, and the possession
of them essential to the objects in view in prosecuting the war in that quarter ;
but the particular mention of them is by no means intended as instructions to
confine our military operations to them. As to the third place suggested, San
Diego, less is known of it than the other two. Should the naval commander
determine to take and hold possession of it, and need the land force, or a part
of it for that purpose, you will of course yield to his views in that respect.
Whatever is done upon the coast of California, or of any other part of Mexico,
will require, it is presumed, the co-operation of the land and naval forces, and
it is not doubted that this co-operation will be cordially rendered.
The point, or points of debarkation of the regiment under your command,
should be settled as speedily as practicable after your arrival upon the Mexican
coast, and the transports discharged. The land forces will, thereafter, be attended
with the vessels of the squadron. The ordnance, ammunition, arms, and all
descriptions of public property which are not required on shore, or cannot be
safely deposited there, will be transferred to the public ships. Upon them the land
forces must rely for bringing supplies, where water transportation is necessary.
If the exigency of the service requires these forces to remove from one place to
another on the coast, the public vessels will furnish the means of doing so.
The regiment under your command, as well as the company of Captain
Tompkins, which has preceded it, is a part of General Kearny's command ; but
it may be that he will not be in a situation to reach you, by his orders, imme
diately on your debarkation. Until that is the case, yours will be an independent
command, except when engaged in joint operations with the naval force.
It is not expected that you will be able to advance far into the country ; nor is
it advisable for you to undertake any hazardous enterprises. Until you shall
fall under the command of General Kearny, your force will be mostly, if not
wholly, employed in seizing and holding important possessions on the sea-coast.
The government here have received information, which is deemed to be relia
ble, though not official, that our squadron in the Pacific had taken possession of
Monterey, as early as the 6th of July last.
There is reason to believe that California is not favorably disposed to the cen
tral government of Mexico, and will not be disposed to make a vigorous resist
ance to our operations in that quarter. Should you find such to be the state of
things there, it will be of the greatest importance that the good will of the people
towards the United States should be cultivated. This is to be done by liberal
and kind treatment. They should be made to feel that we come as deliverers.
Their rights of person, property, and religion, must be respected and sustained.
The greatest care must be taken to restrain the troops from all acts of license or
outrage ; the supplies drawn from the country must be paid for at fair- prices ; and,
as far as practicable, friendly relations should be established. In the event of
hostile resistance, your operations must be governed by circumstances; and you
must use the means at your command to accomplish the objects in view the
military occupation of the country. It is not, however, expected that much can
be done, if preparations shall have been made to resist, until the forces under
General Kearny shall have entered the country.
You are directed to embrace every opportunity to communicate with this
department, and to furnish it with not only a full account of your movements and
operations previous to your coming under the direct command of General Kearny,
but with such other information as may be useful for the department to possess
in regard to conducting the war in that quarter.
Your attention is particularly directed to that portion of the instructions to the
commanding officer of the squadron in the Pacific, herewith, which has reference
to the joint operation of the land and naval force, and you will conform your
You are also furnished with an extract from instructions to General Keamy, I
giving directions for the course of conduct to be pursued while in the military
occupation of any portion of the enemy's country together with a copy of a
letter to General Taylor, enclosing one from the Secretary of the Treasury in
regard to commercial intercourse with such parts of the enemy's ports, &c., as
may be in possession of our forces. These are to be regarded as instructions to
you, should you find yourself placed in the circumstances therein contemplated.
You will take the earliest opportunity to make the commanding officer of the
squadron in the Pacific fully acquainted with your instructions and the accom
panying papers. Where a place is taken by the joint action of the naval and
land force, the naval officer in command, if superior in rank to yourself, will be
entitled to make arrangements for the civil government of it while it is held by
the co-operation of both branches of the military force. All your powers, in this
respect, will of course be devolved on General Kearny, whenever he shall arrive
in California and assume the command of the volunteer regiment As soon as
practicable, you will furnish him with a copy of this communication, and the
other papers herewith transmitted.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Col. J. D. STEVES so w, Secretary of War.
Commanding Regiment of Volunteers, Governor's Island, harbour of New York.
Extract of Letter of Major General Scott to Lieut. Tompkins.
[CONFIDENTIAL.] HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, June 20, 1846.
Sm : As the commander of a company of the 3d artillery, you have been
ordered to embark with the same on board of the United States ship the Lexing
ton, now lying in the harbour of New York, and bound to the north-west coast
J am now to inform you that, with your company, you are destined to act in
conjunction with the United States naval forces in the Pacific, against the republic
of Mexico, with which we are at war. The commander of that squadron may
desire to capture and to hold certain important points, as Monterey, and towns
or posts in San Francisco bay. The company under your command may be
needed for both purposes, and you will, on consultation, give your co-operation.
It is not intended to place you under the orders, strictly speaking, of any naval
officer, no matter how high in rank. That would be illegal, or at least without
the authority of any law ; but you will be held responsible, when associated in
service, whether on land or water, with any naval officer, without regard to rela
tive rank, to co-operate in perfect harmony and with zeal -and efficiency. Great
confidence is reposed in you, in those respects, as also in your intelligence, judg
ment, temper, and prowess. See in this connection paragraphs 24, 25, and 26,
in the old General Regulations for the Army, (edition of 1825,) a copy of which
book I handed to you in my office.
Your condition, and that of your company, on board the Lexington, com
manded by Lieutenant of the navy, or other United States vessel to which
you may be transferred, will be that of passengers, not marines ; but in the event
of the ship finding herself in action, you, and the company under your command,
will not fail to show yourselves at least as efficient as any equal number of ma
rines whatsoever. In such case, again, the utmost harmony, upon consultation,
would be indispensable ; and in no case will you fail, so far as it may depend
upon your best exertions, to conciliate such harmony.
On the landing of the ordnance and ordnance stores belonging to the army,
placed on board of the Lexington, you will take charge of the same, unless you
should be joined for that purpose by an ordnance officer, in which case you will
give him aid and assistance in that duty.
On effecting a successful landing in the enemy's country, it may be necessary,
after consultation with the naval commander, as above, and with his assistance,
to erect and defend one or more forts, in order to hold the conquered place or
places. In such service you will be on your proper element.
It is proper that I should add, you may find on the north-west coast an army
officer, with higher rank than your own, when, of course, you will report to him
by letter, and if ashore, come under his command.
It is known that you have made requisitions for all the proper supplies which
may be needed by your company, for a considerable time after landing. Further
supplies, which may not be sent after you from this side of the continent, you
will, when ashore, in the absence of a naval force, and in the absence of a higher
officer of the army, have to purchase on the other side ; but always in strict
conformity with regulations. On board, it is understood that your company will
be subsisted from the stores of the ship or navy.
Should you not come under the orders of an army officer, or should you not
be landed by the naval commander, as above, you will remain on board of the
squadron, and be sent home on some ship of the same.
I need scarcely add that, afloat or ashore, you will always maintain the
Letter from General Kearny to General Wool.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE WEST,
Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 22, 1846.
GENERAL: I have to inform you, that on the 18th instant, without firing a
gun or spilling a drop of blood, I took possession of this city, the capital of the
department of New Mexico; and that I have this day issued a proclamation
claiming the whole department, with its original boundaries, for the United
States, and under the title of the Territory of New Mexico."
Every thing here is quiet and peaceable. The people now understand the
advantages they are to derive from a change of government, and are much grati
fied with it.
I have more troops (Missouri volunteers) following in my rear. On their
arrival, there will be more than necessary for this Territory. I will send the
surplus to you. Should you not want them, you can order them to Major Gene
ral Taylor, or to their homes, as you may think the good of the public service
I am destined for Upper California, and hope to start from here in the course
of a few weeks. Success attend you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. KEARNY,
Brig. Gen. JNO. E. WOOL, Brig. Gen. U. & A.
U. S. Army, Chihuahua.
[SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL.]
UNITED STATES NAVT DEPARTMENT,
Washington, June 24, 1845.
SIR : Your attention is still particularly directed to the present aspect of the
relations between this country and Mexico. It is the earnest desire of the Presi
dent to pursue the policy of peace ; and he is anxious that you, and every part
of your squadron, should be assiduously careful to avoid any act which could be
construed as an act of aggression.
Should Mexico, however, be resolutely bent on hostilities, you will be mindful
to protect the persons and interests of citizens of the United States near your
station ; and, should you ascertain beyond a doubt that the Mexican government
has declared war against us, you will at once employ the force under your com
mand to the best advantage. The Mexican ports on the Pacific are said to be
open and defenceless. If you ascertain with certainty that Mexico has declared
war against the United States, you will at once possess yourself of the port of
San Francisco, and blockade or occupy such other ports as your force may
Yet, even if you should find yourself called upon by the certainty of an ex
press declaration of war against the United States to occupy San Francisco and
other Mexican ports, you will be careful to preserve, if possible, the most friendly
relations with the inhabitants ; and, where you can do so, you will encourage
them to adopt a course of neutrality.
Should you fall in with the squadron under Commodore Parker, you will
signify to him the wish of the department that, if the state of his vessels will
admit of it, he should remain off the coast of Mexico until our relations with that
power are more definitely adjusted; and you will take directions from him, as
your senior officer, communicating to him these instructions.
The great distance of your squadron, and the difficulty of communicating with
you, are the causes for issuing this order. The President hopes most earnestly
that the peace of the two countries may not be disturbed. The object of these
instructions is to possess you of the views of the government in the event of a
declaration of war on the part of Mexico against the United States an event
which you are enjoined to do every thing consistent with the national honour, on
your part, to avoid.
Should Commodore Parker prefer to return to the United States, he has per
mission from the department to do so. In that event, you will command the
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commodore JOHN D. SLOAT,
Commanding United States naval forces in the Pacific^
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, May 13, 1846.
COMMODORE: The state of things alluded to in my letter of June 24, 1845,
has occurred. You will therefore now be governed by the instructions therein
contained, and carry into effect the orders then communicated with energy and
promptitude, and adopt such other measures for the protection of the persons and
interests, the rights and the commerce of the citizens of the United States, as
your sound judgment may deem to be required.
When you establish a blockade, you will allow neutrals twenty days to leave
the blockaded ports ; and you will render your blockade absolute, except against
armed vessels of neutral nations.
Commending you and your ships' companies to Divine Providence,
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commodore JOHN D. SIOAT,
Commanding U. S. Squadron, Pacific.
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, May 15, 1846.
COMMODORE: By my letter of the 13th instant, forwarded to you through dif
ferent sources, in triplicate, of which a copy is enclosed, you were informed of
the existing state of war between this government and the republic of Mexico,
and referred to your instructions, bearing date, June 24th, 1845, in reference
to such a contingency, and directed to " carry into effect the orders then com
municated, with energy and promptitude, and adopt such other measures for the
protection of the persons and interests, the rights and the commerce of the citi
zens of the United States, as your sound judgment may deem to be required."
I transmit you herewith, by the hands of Midshipman McRae, whom you will
employ on your station, a file of papers, containing the President's message, and
the proceedings of Congress relative to the existing state of war with Mexico.
The President, by authority of Congress, has made proclamation of war between
the United States and Mexico. You will find a copy of the proclamation in the
You will henceforth exercise all the rights that belong to you as commander-
in-chief of a belligerent squadron.
You will consider the most important public object to be to take and to hold
possession of San Francisco, and this you will do without fail.
You will also take possession of Mazatlan and of Monterey, one or both, as
your force will permit.
If information received here rs correct, you can establish friendly relations
between your squadron and the inhabitants of each of these three places.
Enymas is also a good harbour, and is believed to be defenceless. You will
judge about attempting it
When you cannot take and hold possession of a town, you may establish a
blockade, if you have the means to do it effectually, and the public interest shall
With the expression of these views, much is left to your discretion, as to the
selection of the points of attack, the ports you will seize, the ports which you will
blockade, and as to the order of your successive movements.
A connection between California, and even Sonora, and the present govern
ment of Mexico, is supposed scarcely to exist. You will, as opportunity offers,
conciliate the confidence of the people in California, and also in Sonora, towards
the government of the United States ; and you will endeavour to render their
relations with the United States as intimate and as friendly as possible.
It is important that you should hold possession, at least, of San Francisco,
even while you encourage the people to neutrality, self-government, and friend
You can readily conduct yourself in such a manner as will render your occu
pation of San Francisco and other ports a benefit to the inhabitants.
Com. Biddle has left, or will soon leave, China. If occasion offers, you will
send letters for him to our agent at the Sandwich Islands, conveying to him
the wish of the department that he should appear, at once, off California or
You will inform the department, by the earliest opportunity, of those ports
which you blockade. You will notify neutrals of any declaration of blockade
you may make, and give to it all proper publicity. Your blockade must be strict,
permitting only armed vessels of neutral powers to enter ; but to neutrals already
in the ports, you will allow twenty days to leave them.
The frigate "Potomac" and sloop "Saratoga" have been ordered to proceed
as soon as possible into the Pacific; and Capt. Aulick in the Potomac, and Com
mander Shubrick in the Saratoga, directed to report to you at Mazatlan, or wher
ever else they may find your forces. You would do well, if occasion offers, to
send orders to Callao and Valparaiso, instructing them where to meet you.
Other reinforcements will be sent you as the exigencies of the service may
You will communicate with the department as often as you can ; and you will,
if practicable, send a messenger with despatches across the country to the Del
Norte, and so to Washington.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commodore JOHN D. SLOAT.
Commanding U. S. naval forces in the Pacific.
No. 9. . .
UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, June 8, 1846.
COMMODORE : You have already been instructed, and are now instructed, to
employ the force under your command, first, to take possession of San Francisco ;
next, to take possession of Monterey ; next, to take possession of such other
Mexican ports as you may be able to hold ; next, to blockade as many of the
Mexican ports in the Pacific as your force will permit ; and to watch over Ame
rican interests and citizens, and commerce, on the west coast of Mexico.
It is rumoured that the province of California is well disposed to accede to
friendly relations with the United States. You will encourage the people of that
region to enter into relations of amity with our country.
In taking possession of their harbours, you will, if possible, endeavour to esta
blish the supremacy of the American flag without any strife with the people of
The squadron on the east coast of Mexico, it is believed, is in the most friendly
relations with Yucatan. In like manner, if California separates herself from
our enemy, the central Mexican government, and establishes a government of its
own under the auspices of the American flag, you will take such measures as
will best promote the attachment of the people of California to the United States ;
will advance their prosperity ; and will make that vast region a desirable place
of residence for emigrants from our soil.
Considering the great distance at which you are placed from the department,
and the circumstances that will constantly arise, much must be left to your dis
cretion. You will bear in mind generally that this country desires to find in
California a friend, and not an enemy ; to be connected with it by near ties ; to
hold possession of it, at least during the war ; and to hold that possession, if pos
sible, with the consent of its inhabitants.
The sloop of war " Dale," Commander McKean, sailed from New York, on
the 3d instant, to join your squadron. The " Lexington," Lieut Bailey, will
sail as soon as she can take on board her stores. The " Potomac " and " Sara
toga," have also been ordered to the Pacific.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commodore JOHN D. SLOAT,
Commanding U. S. naval forces in the Pacific ocean.
Extract from the General Regulations of the Army edition
ARTICLE 6. Relative rank and precedence of land and sea officers.
24. The military officers of the land and sea services of the United States
shall rank together as follows: 1st. A lieutenant of the navy with captains of the
army. 2d. A master commandant with majors. 3d. A captain of the navy,
from the date of his commission, with lieutenant-colonels. 4th. Five years there
after with colonels. 5th. Ten years thereafter, with brigadier-generals; and
Sth. Fifteen years after the date of his commission, with major-generals. But,
should there be created in the navy the rank of rear-admiral, then such rank
wily shall be considered equal to that of major-general.
25. Nothing in the preceding paragraph shall authorize a land officer to com-
nand any United States vessel or navy yard ; nor any sea officer to command
my part of the army on land ; neither shall an officer of the one service have a
ight to demand any compliment, on the score of rank, from an officer of the other
26. Land troops serving on board a United States vessel as marines, shall be
subject to the orders of the sea officer in command thereof. Other land troops, em-
)arked on board such vessels for transportation merely, will be considered, in
espect to the naval commanders, as passengers ; subject, nevertheless, to the in-
ernal regulations of the vessel.
NAVY DEPARTMENT, August 17, 1846.
COMMODORE : The United States being in a state of war by the action of
VIexico, it is desired by the prosecution of hostilities to hasten the return of
>eace, and to secure it on advantageous conditions. For this purpose orders
lave been given to the squadron in the Pacific to take and keep possession
)f Upper California, especially of the ports of San Francisco, of Monterey,
ind of San Diego ; and also, if opportunity offer and the people favour, to take
jossession, by an inland expedition, of San Pueblo de los Angeles, near San
On reaching the Pacific, your first duty will be to ascertain if these orders
have been carried into effect. If not, you will take immediate possession of
Upper California, especially of the three ports of San Francisco, Monterey, and
San Diego, so that if the treaty of peace shall be made on the basis of the uti
possidetis, it may leave California to the United States.
The relations to be maintained with the people of Upper California are to be
as friendly as possible. The flag of the United States must be raised, but under
it the people are to be allowed as much liberty of self-government as is consist
ent with the general occupation of the country by the United States. You, as
commander-in-chief of the squadron, may exercise the right to interdict the en
trance of any vessel or articles that would be unfavourable to our success in the
war into any of the enemy's ports which you may occupy. With this excep
tion, all United States vessels and merchandise must be allowed, by the local
authorities of the ports of which you take possession, to come and go free of
duty ; but on foreign vessels and goods reasonable duties may be imposed,
collected, and disposed of by the local authorities, under your general superin
A military force has been directed by the Secretary of War to proceed to the
western coast of California for the purpose of co-operation with the navy, in
taking possession of and holding the ports and positions which have been speci
fied, and for otherwise operating against Mexico.
A detachment of these troops, consisting of a company of artillery under
command of Captain Tompkins, has sailed in the United States ship Lexington.
A regiment of volunteers, under Colonel Stevenson, will soon sail from New
York, and a body of troops under Brigadier-general Kearny may reach the
coast over Santa Fe. Copies of so much of the instructions to Captain Tomp
kins and General Kearny as relates to objects requiring co-operation are herewith
By article 6 of the General Regulations for the Army, (edition of 1825,)
which is held by the War Department to be still in force, and of which I enclose
you a copy, your commission places you, in point of precedence, on occasions of
ceremony or upon meetings for consultation, in the class of major-general ; but
no officer of the army or navy, whatever may be his rank, can assume any direct
command, independent of consent, over an officer of the other service, excepting
only when land forces are especially embarked in vessels of war to do the duty
The President expects and requires, however, the most cordial and effectual co
operation between the officers of the two services, in taking possession of and
holding the ports and positions of the enemy, which are designated in the in
structions to either or both branches of the service, and will hold any commander
of either branch to a strict responsibility for any failure to preserve harmony and
secure the objects proposed.
The land forces which have been, or will be sent to the Pacific, may be de
pendent upon the vessels of your squadron for transportation from one point to
another, and for shelter and protection in case of being compelled to abandon
positions on the coast. It may be necessary also to furnish transportation for
their supplies, or to furnish the supplies themselves, by the vessels under your
In all such cases you will furnish all the assistance in your power which will
not interfere with objects that, in your opinion, are of greater importance.
You will, taking care, however, to advise with any land officer of high rank
(say of the rank of brigadier-general) who may be at hand, make the necessary
regulations for the ports that may be occupied.
Having provided for the full possession of Upper California, the next point of
importance is the Gulf of California. From the best judgment I can form, you
should take possession of the port of Gaaymas. The progress of our arms will
probably be such, that in conjunction with land forces you will be able to hold
possession of Guaymas, and so to reduce all the country north of it on the gulf.
As to the ports south of it, especially Mazatlan and Acapulco, it is not possible
to give you special instructions. Generally, you will take possession of, or
blockade, according to your best judgment, all Mexican ports, as far as your
means allow ; but south of Guaymas, if the provinces rise up against the central
government, and manifest friendship towards the United States, you may, ac
cording to your discretion, enter into a temporary agreement of neutrality. But
this must be done only on condition that our ships have free access to their ports,
and equal commercial rights with those of other nations ; that you are allowed
to take in water and fuel ; to purchase supplies ; to go to and from shore without
obstruction, as in time of peace ; and that the provinces which are thus neutral
shall absolutely abstain from contributing towards the continuance of the war by
the central government of Mexico against the United States.
Generally, you will exercise the rights of a belligerent, and bear in mind that
the greater advantages you obtain, the more speedy and the more advantageous
will be the peace.
Should Commodore Biddle be in the Pacific, off the shores of Mexico, at the
time you arrive there, you will report yourself to him ; and as long as he remains
off the coast of Mexico, you will act under his direction in concert with him,
communicating to him these instructions.
The Savannah, the Warren, and the Levant ought soon to return. If you
hear of peace between the United States and Mexico, you will at once send
If war continues, you will send them home singly, or in company, at the
earliest day they can be spared. The Savannah will go to New York, and the
Warren and Levant to Norfolk.
Very respectfully, yours,
Com. W. B. SHUBRICK,
Appointed to command the U. S. naval forces in the Pacific ocean.
[CONFIDENTIAL.] UNITED STATES NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, November 5, 1846.
COMMODORE : Commodore Sloat has arrived in this city, and delivered your
letter of the 28th July ult., with the copy of your address to the people of Cali
fornia, which accompanied it The department is gratified that you joined the
squadron before the state of the commodore's health rendered it necessary for him
to relinquish his important command.
The difficulties and embarrassments of the command, without a knowledge
of the proceedings of Congress on the subject of the war with Mexico, and in
the absence of the instructions of the department, which followed these proceed
ings, are justly appreciated ; and it fa highly gratifying that so much has been
done in anticipation of the orders which have been transmitted.
You will, without doubt, have received the despatches of the 15th of May last,
addressed to Commodore Sloat ; and I now send you, for your guidance, a copy
of instructions to Commodore Shubrick of the 17th of August. He sailed early in
September, in the razee Independence, with orders to join the squadron with
the least possible delay. On his assuming the command, you may hoist a red
pennant. If you prefer, you may hoist your pennant on the Savannah, and
return home with her and the Warren.
The existing war with Mexico has been commenced by her. Every disposition
was felt and manifested by the United States government to procure redress for the
injuries of which we complained, and to settle all complaints on her part, in the
spirit of peace and of justice which has ever characterized our intercourse with
foreign nations. That disposition still exists ; and whenever the authorities of
Mexico shall manifest a willingness to adjust unsettled points of controversy be
tween the two republics, and to restore an honourable peace, they will be met
in a corresponding spirit.
This consummation is not to be expected, nor is our national honour to be
maintained, without a vigorous prosecution of the war on our part. Without
being animated by any ambitious spirit of conquest, our naval and military forces
must hold the ports and territory of the enemy, of which possession has been
obtained by their arms. You will, therefore, under no circumstances, voluntarily
lower the flag of the United States, or relinquish the actual possession of Upper
California. Of other points of the Mexican territory, which the forces under your
command may occupy, you will maintain the possession' or withdraw, as in your
judgment may be most advantageous in the prosecution of the war.
In regard to your intercourse with the inhabitants of the country, your views are
judicious and you will conform to the instructions heretofore given. You will
exercise the rights of a belligerent ; and if you find that the liberal policy of our
government, in purchasing and paying for required supplies, is misunderstood,
and its exercise is injurious to the public interest, you are at liberty to take them
from the enemy without compensation, or pay such prices as may be deemed just
and reasonable. The best policy in this respect depends on a knowledge of cir
cumstances in which you are placed, and is left to your discretion.
The Secretary of War has ordered Col. R. B. Mason, 1st United States dra
goons, to proceed to California, via Panama, who will command the troops and
conduct the military operations in the Mexican territory bordering on the Pacific,
in the absence of Brigadier-general Kearny. The commander of the naval forces
will consult and co-operate with him in his command to the same extent as if
he held a higher rank in the army. In all questions of relative rank, he is to be
regarded as having only the rank of colonel.
The President has deemed it best for the public interests to invest the military
officer commanding with the direction of the operations on land and with the
administrative functions of government over the people and territory occupied by
us. You will relinquish to Colonel Mason, or to General Kearny, if the latter
shall arrive before you have done so, the entire control over these matters, and
turn over to him all papers necessary to the performance of his duties. If officers
of the navy are employed in the performance of civil or military duties, you will
withdraw or continue them, at your discretion, taking care to put them to their
appropriate duty in the squadron, if the army officer commanding does not wish
their services on land.
The establishment of port regulations is a subject over which it is deemed by
the President most appropriate that the naval commander shall exercise jurisdiction.
You will establish these, and communicate them to the military commander, who
will carry them into effect so far as his co-operation may be necessary, suggesting
for your consideration modifications or alterations.
The regulation of the import trade is also confided to you. The conditions
under which vessels of our own citizens and of neutrals may be admitted into ports
of the enemy in your possession will be prescribed by you, subject to the instruc
tions heretofore given. To aid you, copies of instructions to the collectors in the
United States, from the Treasury Department, on the same subject, are enclosed.
On cargoes of neutrals imported into such ports you may impose moderate duties,
not greater in amount than those collected in the ports of the United States.
The collection of these duties will be made by civil officers, to be appointed, and
subject to the same rules as other persons charged with civil duties in the country.
These appointments will be made by the military officers, on consultation with
The President directs me to impress most earnestly on the naval officers, as it
is impressed on those of the army, the importance of harmony in the performance
of their delicate duties while co-operating. They are arms of one body, and
will, I doubt not, vie with each other in showing which can render the most
efficient aid to the other in the execution of common orders, and in sustaining
the national honour, which is confided to both.
You will make your communications to the department as frequent as possible.
The great distance at which your command is placed, and the impossibility of
maintaining a frequent or regular communication with you, necessarily induce
the department to leave much of the details of your operations to your discretion.
The confident belief is entertained, that, with the general outline given in the
instructions, you will pursue a course which will make the enemy sensible of our
power to inflict on them the evils of war, while it will secure to the United States,
if a definitive treaty of peace shall give us California, a population impressed
with our justice, grateful for our clemency, and prepared to love our institutions
and to honour our flag.
On your being relieved in the command of the squadron, you will hand your
instructions to the officer relieving you.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. Y. MASON.
Commodore R. F. STOCKTON,
Commanding United Slates naval forces on the west coast of Mexico.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 11, 1847.
SIR : Your communication from Santa Fe, of the 22d of September, accom
panied by a copy of the laws prepared for the government of New Mexico, and
established in that Territory, was received at this Department on the 23d of No
Soon after the meeting of Congress the President was called on by a resolution
of the House of Representatives for the orders and instructions issued to the
officers of the army and navy by him for the civil government of the territories
which had been or might be acquired by our arms. I herewith send you a copy
of the President's message, with the documents, sent to Congress in answer to
that resolution. By this you will learn the President's views as to the power and
authority to be exercised in the territories conquered and occupied by our forces.
These views are presented more in detail in instructions prepared under his
directions by the Secretary of the Navy, bearing date this day, an extract of
which is herewith transmitted for your information, and particularly for the guid
ance of your conduct. This document is so full and clear on all points, in
regard to which you may desire the directions of. the Government, that I do not
deem it necessary to enlarge upon it.
It is proper to remark that the provisions of the laws which have been esta
blished for the government of the Territory of New Mexico go, in some few
respects, beyond the line designated by the President, and propose to confer upon
the people of that Territory political rights under the Constitution of the United
States. Such rights can only be acquired by the action of Congress. So far as
the code of laws established in New Mexico by' your authority attempts to confer
such rights, it is not approved by the President, and he directs me to instruct you
not to carry such parts into effect.
Under the law of nations the Power conquering a territory or country has a
right to establish a civil Government within the same, as a means of securing the
conquest, and with a view to protecting the persons and property of the people ;
and it is not intended to limit you in the full exercise of this authority. Indeed,
it is desired you should exercise it in such a manner as to inspire confidence in
the people that our power is to be firmly sustained in that country. The terri
tory in our military occupation, acquired from the enemy by our arms, cannot be
regarded, the war still continuing, as permanently annexed to the United States,
though our authority to exercise civil government over it is not by that circum
stance the least restricted.
It is important that the extent and character of our possession in the territories
conquered from the enemy should not be open to question or cavil. This remark,
though having reference to all our acquisitions, is in an especial manner applicable
to the Californias. As to Upper California, it is presumed no doubt can arise,
but it may not be so clear as to Lower California. It is expected that our flag
will be hoisted in that part of the country, and actual possession taken and con
tinuously held of some place or places in it, and our civil jurisdiction there
asserted and upheld.
A copy of this communication will be sent to the commanding officer at Santa
Fe, with instructions to conform his conduct to the views herein presented.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY, Secretary of War.
Brig. Gen. S. W. KEARNY,
Commanding U. 8. Army in California, Mexico.
[CONFIDENTIAL.] NAVY DEPARTMENT,
January 11, 1847.
SIR : Your communications, dated at Monterey on the 18th and 19th of Sep
tember, were received at the Department on the 26th December ultimo, by the
hands of Mr. Norris, whose activity and intelligence in executing his orders en
title him to my thanks.
You will probably have received before this can reach you my despatches,
which were intrusted to Lieut. Watson, of the United States Navy, under date
of the 5th of November, in which, as Commander-in-chief of the United States
naval forces in the Pacific, you were informed that the President " has deemed it
best for the public interests to invest the military officer commanding with the
direction of the operations on land, and with the administrative functions of
government over the people and territory occupied by us."
Accompanying this, I send you copies of the President's annual message
transmitted to Congress on the 8th of December ultimo, with the accompanying
documents, including the reports of the War and Navy Departments. I also
send you a printed copy of the document No. 19 of the House of Representa
You will perceive from these papers the view taken by the Executive of the
measures which have been adopted by the military and naval commanders in
those States of Mexico of which we have acquired possession by military conquest
I see no reason to qualify the opinion which I expressed in my report, that
your measures in regard to the conquered territory are telieved to be warranted
by the laws of war." And, in answer to your suggestion that " a general ap
proval by the Government of the United States of your conduct, if they do
approve, to be published in the Californian, would have a good effect," I have
been directed by the President to communicate a more full statement of his views
of the principles which govern the conduct of our officers in the circumstances
in which you have been placed, and on which the instructions heretofore given
By the constitution of the United States the power to declare war is vested in
Congress. The war with Mexico exists by her own act and the declaration of
the Congress of the United States. It is the duty of the Executive to carry on
the war with all the rights and subject to all the duties imposed by the laws of
nations a code binding on both belligerents.
The possession of portions of the enemy's territory, acquired by justifiable acts
of war, gives to us the right of government during the continuance of our pos
session, and imposes on us a duty to the inhabitants who are thus placed under
our dominion. The right of possession, however, is temporary, unless made
absolute by subsequent events. If, being in possession, a treaty of peace is made
and duly ratified, on the principle of uti possidetis, that is, that each of the belli
gerent parties shall enjoy the territory of which it shall be in possession at the
date of the treaty, or if the surrender of the territory is not stipulated in the
treaty so ratified, then the imperfect title, acquired by conquest, is made absolute,
and the inhabitants, with the territory, are entitled to all the benefits of the federal
constitution of the United States, to the same extent as the citizens of any other
part of the Union.
The course of our Government in regard to California, or other portions of the
territory of Mexico now or hereafter to be in our possession by conquest, depends
on those on whom the constitution imposes the duty of making and carrying
treaties into effect. Pending the war, our possession gives only such rights as
the laws of nations recognise, and the government is military, performing such
civil duties as are necessary to the full enjoyment of the advantages resulting
from the conquest, and to the due protection of the rights of persons and of pro
perty of the inhabitants.
No political right can be conferred on the inhabitants thus situated, emanating
from the Constitution of the United States. That instrument establishes a form
of government for those who are within our limits and owe voluntary allegiance
to it. Unless incorporated, with the assent of Congress, by ratified treaty, or by
legislative act, as in the case of Texas, our rights over enemies' territory in our
possession are only such as the laws of war confer, and theirs no more than are
derived from the same authority. They are therefore entitled to no representa
tion in the Congress of the United States.
Without anticipating what may be the terms of a treaty which it is hoped
will be entered into between the two Republics, there will be no revocation of the
orders, given in my despatch on the 5th of November last, that under no cir
cumstances will you voluntarily lower the flag of the United States, or relinquish
the actual possession of California," with all the rights which it confers.
In the discharge of the duty of government in the conquered territory during
our military possession, it has not been deemed improper or unwise that the in
habitants should be permitted to participate in the selection of agents to make or
execute the laws to be enforced. Such a privilege cannot fail to produce amelio
rations of the despotic character of martial law, and constitute checks, voluntarily
and appropriately submitted to by officers of the United States, all whose in
stitutions are based on the will of the governed.
I have regarded your measures, in authorizing the election of agents charged
with making laws, or in executing them, as founded on this principle, and so far
as they carry out the right of temporary government, under existing rights of
possession, they are approved. But no officers created, or laws or regulations
made to protect the rights or perform the duties resulting from our conquests, can
lawfully continue beyond the duration of the state of things which now exists,
without authority of future treaty or act of Congress.
At present it is needless, and might be injurious to the public interest, to agi
tate the question in California as to how long those persons who have been
elected for a prescribed period of time will have official authority. If our right
of possession shall become absolute, such an inquiry is needless, and if, by treaty
or otherwise, we lose the possession, those who follow us will govern the country.
The President, however, anticipates no such result. On the contrary, he foresees
no contingency in which the United States will ever surrender or relinquish the
possession of the Californias.
The number of official appointments with civil or military duties, other than
those devolved on our army and navy by our own laws, should be made as small
as possible, and the expenses of the local government should be kept within the
limits of the revenues received in the Territory, if it can be done without detri
ment to the public interest.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. Y. MASON.
Commodore R. F. STOCKTON,
Commanding U. Naval forces west coast of Mexico.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER, DATED
PtrEBlA BBS LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, June 22, 1847.
DEAR SIR : The ship Loo Choo, one of the transports that brought out a por
tion of the New York regiment, being about to return home, I avail myself of the
opportunity to write a few lines.
Since the departure of Gen. Kearny, who left some weeks ago for the United
States, little of importance has transpired here. The country now, as then, is
perfectly tranquil, and there is nothing to indicate a change of this desirable state
of things, unless it be for the better. Some of the Californians who left their
homes for Sonora, are returning here. They give deplorable representations of
the condition of that country. I am advised by those who hare come in, that
many families, respectable residents of Sonora, are making arrangements to re
move to California, and from a conviction that they will be sure of a permanent
and good government under the American flag, and under the full belief that
Mexico cannot extend to them aid and protection, and that farther persistence in
rebellion will be unavailing.
Another reason for their acquiescence in a state of things which they cannot
prevent, deserves to be mentioned in justice to the volunteers. The conduct of
our troops since they set foot here has been such as to inspire the Californians
with respect and confidence towards them and the nation of which they are, as it
were, the representatives. This confidence and good feeling are manifested in a
thousand ways which I have not the space to particularize. It is enough to say,
that they seize upon every opportunity to avail themselves of the mechanical skill
and ingenuity of the troops, when they are at liberty to engage in their wonted
avocations at home ; and at such times the troops have as much employment
from the native inhabitants as they desire or can attend to.
We have now at this post nearly completed a strong fortress. It has been
erected by the troops on a hill that commands the town and the surrounding
country. This, of course, will effectually suppress any attempt at insurrection,
as every effort must inevitably involve all engaged in it in a common calamity.
The Mormon force here and at San Diego consists of about 360 men. Their
term of service expires on the 17th of July. They have been invited to re-enter
the service for another year, but at present there is not much prospect of their
doing so. This is extremely to be regretted, for they are an orderly, quiet, and
peaceable set of men, submitting without resistance or a murmur to the severest
discipline, and altogether a most useful and efficient body of men.
The regiment of New York volunteers is now very much scattered, being dis
tributed among different posts, from Sutler's settlement on the Sacramento to La
Paz in Lower California a distance of 1500 miles. The regiment will never
probably be together again while in service. They will dearly earn all they
receive from the government. The hand of American industry and enterprise is
plainly to b seen wherever our troops are stationed. Bricks are burned, ovens
built, chimneys erected, saw-mills put into operation, and comfortable houses
constructed wherever timber can be had.
Watches and clocks, too, are sent to these stations from a distance of fifty
miles, to be repaired ; cloths brought to be made into clothing ; leather to be
made into boots and shoes ; and at one of the posts a tannery has been esta
blished ; and at Monterey two of the New York volunteers, who are employed
by the commissary, have opened a stall at which beef, lamb, veal, and mutton,
can be.purchased dressed in Fulton market style. They are doing remarkably
well, and even the inhabitants who have been in the habit of slaughtering a
bullock in the streets for their own use, are abandoning the habit and patronizing
the New York butchers.
These are specimens of what is going forward here in the way of civilization
and improvement under the sway of the United States government and its arms.
All can do well here who choose to help themselves and become useful. But I
have no more time to write.